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Are your team forgetting important details? Improve their memory with these quick and simple communication techniques.

Are your team forgetting important details? Improve their memory with these quick and simple communication techniques.

Do you find yourself repeating the same things over and over again to your team? Do they consistently miss the point of what you’re trying to say? Do they find themselves forgetting the key details that make or break a project?

Do I sound like a bad infomercial?

It’s frustrating and can be really damaging to business goals if your team routinely forget the specifics of what you’ve communicated.

Believe it or not, I used to experience this on a regular basis before I studied NLP and communication. It’s actually something that comes up for our clients all the time, so you’re not alone.

Communication is paramount for great leadership. So, I’ve been on a quest to improve communication across businesses, including my own.

After years of intensive study, I’ve become a Master Practitioner of NLP. What this means is I have extensive experience of understanding how the mind receives and processes information, so I know the best way to communicate to get your message heard.

NLP is so mind-blowingly effective for getting the best out of people. I wanted to share the incredible tools I’ve learnt in my studies to help your team retain and act on more of what you say.

Team of employees sitting around the conference table discussing work

Utilise the senses

Research shows that our conscious mind can only handle about 5-9 bits of information at a time.

This means that the mind has to have a way of coping with the millions of bits of information that’s thrown at it every second. Can you imagine this being a conscious process?!

I can barely handle walking and texting at the same time, let alone being fully aware of every bit of information my brain picks up!

So, in order to cope, the mind is constantly deleting, distorting, and generalising information.

But what does this mean for you?

It means that some of your words will be getting deleted by your teams brains. Sorry, but it’s just the way our brains are wired!

You need to remember that this isn’t a conscious choice. They’re not doing it because they don’t care about what you’re saying or they’re ‘conveniently’ forgetting information to make their lives easier. That can happen, but it’s a whole other subject that I’ll write about soon!

This ‘deleting’ happens automatically.

The mind has several filters which help it to determine what information is important to focus on. What these NLP techniques do is to use these filters to our advantage.

You can help the important information get through the filters in the conscious mind and stick within the subconscious mind, keeping the information safe.

“But how?!” I hear you ask. I’m getting to it, I promise!

The first thing you need to do is utilise as many senses as you can.

This means using pictures, sounds, and feelings.

Using pictures to improve memory and information retention

I was onsite with a client last week, coaching one of their employees. The employee was convinced that he had a terrible memory and that’s why he struggled to remember what his Manager asks him to do.

However, when I finished the skills training I created for him, I tested him by asking some questions. Sure enough, the information wasn’t coming freely to mind.

So, I drew a picture for him and asked him to make a mental snapshot of the page. When I took the notepad away and asked him to keep looking in the same spot the notepad was on, he was able to recall every word on the page, exactly where it was on the page.

The reason he thought he had a bad memory was because he hadn’t developed a strategy to remember. For him, using images meant he count retain more information!

Everyone will have different strategies that work for them, but visual cues tend to work best for most people. Once he understood this strategy worked for him, he was able to apply it to his day-to-day life.

When I spoke to him today, he said that his memory has drastically improved and he hasn’t forgotten any tasks his Manager has set him yet!

So why am I telling you this?

Well, when you add pictures to words, you’re significantly increasing the likelihood that your employee will remember the information that you’ve shared.

Even if you write up bullet points in different colours and get them to remember it visually, that’s enough to work. It doesn’t need to be artistic to tap into this approach! Don’t crack out the paints yet.

In fact, I’ve had success with this by just writing down each point and showing it to them. Nothing fancy, it’s as simple as that!

Two employees talking together and learning from eachother

Using sounds to improve memory and information retention

When you’re saying a long sentence, or imparting a lot of information in a short space of time, the words can merge into each other. At this point, the mind is busy deleting, distorting, and generalising.

It’s important that you use sound to let the mind know that something important is happening.

Changing the tone on key points will make a big difference to how easily your team can retain the information.

Or, if there are any supporting sound effects or songs that the words are similar to, the mind can make more meaning of the information. When this happens, they’re more likely to retain it.

Have you ever noticed how when you hear a certain phrase within a song, it can transport your mind back to that song? Even if you haven’t heard it in years?

Or maybe you hear a particular melody and your mind knows exactly what song it is, and you can sing along even though without the music you’d struggle to remember the exact words?

That’s because sound is one of the key information sources we use to make meaning of the world. It’s one of the easiest ways to get into the subconscious mind.

So, if you turn information into pictures and sounds, you’re almost guaranteed that the mind will retain it.

Using feelings to improve memory and information retention

Have you seen the quote, “People will forget what you say, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.”?

Not all information you share will generate feelings. It’s hard for most people to get excited about budget reports or yearly targets! This is part of the reason why some information can be missed and deleted by the mind.

But when I talk about feelings, I’m not just talking about emotions. I also mean physical sensations.

Many people attending training will want a physical manual to hold on to when they get in the room. It’s something to touch. Something real to get a grasp of. This stimulates the kinaesthetic part of our system.

Feelings can be generated by physical movement, actions, and experiences.

So, if you’re sharing important information and you them to walk over to the board and write up the bullet points for you, they’re not only hearing your speak and seeing the board, they’re also experiencing it too.

This can make a huge difference to the chances that information will be retained.

It’s why when your teachers at school wanted to you study, they’ll always suggest you revise by writing all of your notes down multiple times. I don’t know about you but as annoying as it was, it worked!

It’s also why in training it’s always best practice to have practical experiences that enable people to get into the task and learn by doing.

Employees chatting together using communication techniques

How to understand what’s missing about your communication

At the end of the day, sit down away from the day-to-day tasks and map out on a page the communication that’s being missed in your business.

Once you have a clear outline of what information your team are forgetting, have a think about how you can communicate in a way that incorporates the sense. This will make a huge difference and help you to relax a little more in the knowledge that your team are acting on what you say!

I’ve written quite a few articles about communication for leaders as it’s one of my passions. We run regular specialist training on improving communication in businesses, so you can trust I know what I’m talking about. You can read my latest article here: How to develop effective communication skills.

Alternatively, if you would like some training for your employees or your leadership team, you can contact me for an informative chat on natalie@podhr.co.uk

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