6 Ways to Stop Forgetfulness – and Why it Happens

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Don't forgetIf you’re like most people, you will often have those infuriating moments when you forget something important, like a phone call you promised to make or a specific request from a customer that you said you would do, but it slipped your mind.

As salespeople, it’s good to have a solid memory but it can be a problem when you have many things you have to recall. Let’s take a look at what causes forgetfulness and what you can do about it.

Many people have what is known as a photographic memory, that is, they can picture or imagine in their mind’s eye what needs to be done and follow through effectively. Basically, what they have is the capacity to recall what is important and can ‘see’ what they need to do, as if they are looking a a screen or papers in front of them. This is the first of our tips…the ability to put them in a form that is easily-recallable.

1) Put ideas into your long-term memory. It’s a little simplistic to say, but you have a short-term and a long-term memory. The short-term has a finite amount of information it can keep in its system, usually up to about 9 ‘bits’ of data. (Try remembering two sets of mobile phone numbers without writing them down!).

The way to sound it down into our long-term memory is to repeat it (preferably with more than two modalities) so that you have it embedded into the memory banks. So, you should write it down, repeat it out loud, see it when you shut your eyes, write it in your mind again using your own hand so you see it and hear it being written. Then, do it again twice more over the next hour or so. Then do it twice the next day, and a couple of times more for the following week. This will enable the information to be ’embedded’ in the memory much better than if you just saw it once.

2) Convince yourself that you WILL remember it. Too many people record the same mantra into their subconscious so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy…”I just have a terrible memory!”

Your brain will prove you correct! It will say to itself that you have a bad memory and will set out to prove you right. Instead, say something like, “I have a great memory when I use the correct techniques!”

This will enable you to seek out the best memory techniques and use them to assist you in remembering what needs to be done.

3) Associate something to what you need to remember. People used to tie little coloured ribbons round their fingers to remind them to do things. The Greeks over 2000 years ago knew the value of ‘associations’. Ever forgotten where you parked your car, and spent ages looking for it when you returned later? Then associate it with some (immovable) object nearby. Close your eyes, take an imaginary snapshot of what that object is, open them up again and say the object out loud to yourself. On your return, you just need to think what the object was and you’ll instantly find your car!

4) Make a note of it! Seems strange that many folks don’t use the good old pen and paper to remember stuff. Your phone, tablet, laptop or computer can also be used to help you remember. Don’t always rely on your memory…it can sometimes do with a little help and support!

5) Forgot a customer’s name? Repeat it two or three times in the next few sentences!  Many people hear someone’s name and then instantly forget it. This is normally caused because of a simple lack of concentration. Look at the person when they say their name, repeat it back to them and imagine it written on their forehead.

Use it two or three times in the conversation (without making yourself sound like a dipstick!) and it should be embedded in your memory effectively.

6) Get yourself organised. A messy lifestyle often is the result of messy thought-processes, so get yourself some notebooks, calendars, task lists and jotters, and make sure they are utilised effectively. Laziness can be one of the prime reasons why memory lapses occur; a couple of helping hands will encourage you help the memory recharge itself.
As salespeople, we often overwhelm ourselves with too much to remember. By utilising some of these ideas you may help yourself become a person valued becasue of your good memory, rather than someone who is laughed at because they forget some simple job.

Now, where did I put my phone?

Happy selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 29 April, 2014

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