Believe it or not, researchers have found that up to 90 percent of the new information we receive–whether it’s in a one-on-one meeting with our boss, or in a large industry presentation or seminar, or any other means of communicating information–is forgotten. In other words, you can expect that 90 percent of what you say to someone else just isn’t going to stick.
If that’s the case–and science says it is–then what exactly can you do to become unforgettable? Fortunately, a lot.
According to Carmen Simon, a cognitive scientist and author of the book, Impossible to Ignore, “The mistake some people make when trying to influence others’ memory is that they overestimate the importance of goals and underestimate the impact of existing reflexes and habits.”
Here are 15 things you can do to ensure that you are unforgettable.
Context is comprised of both the time and place where you provide information to someone else. Says Simon, “The more vivid the place and action at Point A, the more accurate and easier the recall at Point B.”
According to Simon, “Cues are reminders that help with recall, depending on how strongly they are related to the initial content, how many connections there are with other similar content, and how salient they are to draw attention at the time of remembering.”
You can make certain information distinctive simply by how you design or present it. If you present three slides in this order: text-graphic-text, the middle, graphic slide will stand out more than the middle, text slide in this sequence: text-text-text.
When you tap into someone’s emotions, the information you are presenting is naturally going to be more memorable.
When you use facts–truths known by actual experience or observation–the information you present will be more memorable than information that is abstract or opinion based.
When your audience has some familiarity with the information you are presenting, it will be more memorable. Says Simon, “When analyzing a piece of content, ask, ‘Has my audience seen this before?’ ‘Does it easily hook into something they already know?'”
The more motivated your audience feels by the information presented to them, the more likely they are to remember it. Simon says, “…the more we remember, the more motivated we are to do (or not do) something; and the more we do something, the better we remember.”
When you provide your audience with something novel–something they haven’t before experienced–the information you present will be more memorable.
9. Quantity of information
The key to being memorable is to strike a balance between short and long content. Too short and the content won’t necessarily be memorable; too long, and you may put your audience to sleep.
The more relevant the information is to your audience, the greater the probability that they will remember it.
According to Carmen Simon, researchers have found that “…it takes the brain three impressions for something to be detected as repetitive and form a pattern.” The more you repeat your information, the more memorable it will be.
12. Self-generated content
Self-generated content–such as asking your audience questions, or inviting them to engage in a discussion–makes your information more memorable.
13. Sensory intensity
Activating your audience’s senses–sight, sound, touch, and so forth–will make your presentation more memorable.
14. Social aspects
Says Simon, “Social expectations amplify motivations and drive action, which also have an impact on what we remember.”
When you present your audience with something suddenly or unexpectedly–a surprise–they will remember it. And they will remember you.