Let’s face it, storytelling, powerful metaphors and evoking emotion are all great techniques to capture attention and leave a lasting impression. They activate various parts of the brain and make your message more memorable. What if I told you there is a technique that can take your message from “memorable” to “unforgettable”?
The Technique with 50% More Effectiveness
Recent scientific literature on memory is overflowing with insights, yet the mainstream media seems to overlook it. One fascinating study conducted by Jeffrey Karpicke (1) had participants read an article either four times or once and then recall it three times. Surprisingly, the group that had only read the article once and tested themselves three times later had a significantly better memory of the article than the group that had read it four times. This is what is known as the ‘testing effect’, which is also observed in other types of quizzing techniques. Other studies have even shown up to a 50% increase in retention compared to other forms of learning (2).
The key to this approach is actively taking steps to retrieve the information just learned. By asking yourself critical questions about what you have learned, you create strong connections between the new material and your existing knowledge. This process also adds meaning to the new information, allowing you to consciously create hooks that make the information stick better.
How to use the ‘test effect’ for yourself and others
Unlock the full potential of your memory with this powerful technique and use it to help others retain information too. When starting a story or meeting, make sure to use active questions to engage your audience. Multiple-choice quizzes are a good start, but open-ended questions that prompt people to make connections with what they already know are even better. Turn your meeting agenda items into questions or add questions under each item to encourage people to think ahead. Then use those same questions at the end to reinforce the key takeaways.
In presentations, use rhetorical questions and create a sense of mystery at the beginning of your story to grab your audience’s attention. End with an instruction that encourages your audience to think about how your story relates to their own lives. This association will help your story stick in their minds and be remembered long after the presentation is over.