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Advice from the international man of memory to build business knowledge

Real Business talked with US memory champion Chester Santos about the huge benefits of improving your memory to build business knowledge.
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It’s been said there are several traits a leader needs in order to run a successful business – while some may be more important than others, it’s worth developing as many of these skills as possible. Think innovation, time management and communication. However, one of the most important qualities is often overlooked: having a good memory to build business knowledge.

“We need to keep learning and remembering all our lives,” Peter Brown, Henry Roediger, and Mark McDaniel, wrote in “Make It Stick: The Science Of Successful Learning,” adding: “Getting ahead at work takes mastery of job skills and difficult colleagues. If you’re good at learning, you have an advantage.”

You don’t need to be a Will Hunting in life – with his photographic memory – to see the benefits of using memory to build business knowledge. That’s where Chester Santos, hailed as “the international man of memory”,  comes into the picture. The US memory champion is in the business of training the mind, and had a few bits of advice to pass down for entrepreneurs.

(1) How did memory techniques originate?

Most of the techniques I teach come from the ancient Greeks. Back then, everyone was educated in what was called the “art of memory.” Somehow that got lost over time and nowadays we don’t teach it at all in our educational system. We’re expected to remember a lot of information, but we’re never taught how to remember it.

(2) When you say that you can “superpower” memory, what do you mean?

When you force yourself to commit things to memory and recall them, your memory will automatically improve. That’s one aspect. Another aspect is learning techniques that will allow you to memorise specific types of information, such as names and faces or information that contains numbers – a perfect example of using memory to build business knowledge.

(3) What’s your technique for improving your memory?

I’ve broken my teaching into three main principles. One is visualisation of the image, so you take whatever it is that you are trying to remember and try to turn it into a simple image or series of memorable images. Beyond visualisation, try to involve as many additional senses as you can while trying to commit a piece of information to memory. The more senses that you involve, the more of your brain you’ll be using and the more connections in your mind to the information you’ll be building, so it will be much easier to remember.

Next, use your creativity and imagination to make what you are seeing and experiencing in your mind unusual and extraordinary. This is important so that you can take advantage of the psychological aspect to your memory. With putting forth little to no effort, we can all remember things that are unusual and extraordinary in some way.

Find out what advantages lie in store if your next goal is to develop your memory

Image: Shutterstock

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About Author

Shané Schutte

Shané Schutte is a senior reporter at Real Business, with a particular specialism in employment and business law, human resources, information technology and sales/marketing.

Real Business