Have you ever met somebody with a phenomenal memory and wondered how they do it? Are you one of these people? Or are you like me and see going upstairs and coming back with what you went for as a minor triumph? And how can memory-boosting techniques help you become a better presenter?
You often find that people who can remember seemingly impossible sequences of words or objects do so by associating them with pictures and places they know well.
This technique for improving memory is known as the ‘link method’ and if you want a bit of amusement later you can see this video clip of Sir Robert Winston giving it a go. What this demonstrates is the power of images when it comes to making things memorable.
And being memorable is central to effective presentation skills.
The point here is not about improving your ability to remember what you wanted to say in your presentation (although this is clearly a benefit); it’s about using the same sort of image-linking techniques to help your audience remember you - and the few most critical points that you need to get across.
Not so much learning the secret of having a great memory, as learning the secret of being memorable!
Most of us forget about 95% of the information we receive, so anything we can do to ensure that our most persuasive arguments are in the 5% that our clients remember has to be worthwhile. They are far more likely to remember a striking, intriguing or even amusing image than they are a slide full of bullet points. If that image is associated with a simple clear message the two things will be remembered together.
I’d be careful with the humour though, and not overdo it – businesses only tend to employ comedians for the Christmas party. Fine, if that’s the business you’re pitching for.
In large part, the power of images in memory lies in their ability to promote an emotional response. Because of this everyone will relate to the visuals you use in a slightly different way and will adapt their recollection accordingly. The memory then becomes a personal one that relates to their point of view.
Just to be clear, I’m not talking about clip art here. You don’t want your business and your message to be associated with a bunch of low-budget, see them anywhere, images. There are plenty of on-line sources for free, good quality images.
Other reasons for using images
The images in your presentation can be a great mental trigger for the points you wanted to make – you will be less reliant on written notes and more spontaneous. And, unlike a list of bullet points, if you say things in a slightly different order, nobody will know and there will be no confusion.
Imaginative use of images makes you come across as a more skilled and confident presenter. While others might be using their slides as a script or for obvious prompts, you’ll come across as different, in control, and at ease. You’ll also be saving your audience the insult of reading something to them that they could read for themselves.
So for your next presentation try to find a memorable image with an association to each of the critical points you want to make. And use the power of these images to make sure your arguments stay in your client’s mind.
Hugh Graham, The Bid Coach
If you'd like your team to become more memorable, effective and confident presenters give me a call on 01963 240555, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I have many years of senior sales and account management positions.
This experience taught me how to interpret exactly what clients are seeking, and what they need and expect to see and hear from the successful bidder. We draw on this experience to give your team an additional competitive advantage by building on their existing strengths while improving their team-working and self-awareness.