Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

October 01 2012

Unconventional: Your Meeting Memory Palace Awaits

By Sarah Beauchamp, Assistant Editor

As a meeting professional, you need to be able to instantly recall hundreds if not thousands of bits of information about every event you plan.  And while it’s tempting to lean heavily on the many technology tools at your disposal, don’t neglect the original app: your own memory.

In the New York Times bestseller Moonwalking With Einstein, journalist Joshua Foer explores the “art of memory.” In the book, he depicts a “memory palace” - a structure to visualize when you have an extensive list or other important information to commit to memory.  The idea is that applying physical anchors to intangible items or ideas makes them easier to recall later.  In the book, Foer successfully commits to memory a long and unusual to-do list created by his mentor, Ed Cooke:

“I continued walking through the house, picking up the bread crumbs of exotic images I’d deposited earlier.  ‘Three hula-hoops on the dining room table! Snorkel in the sink! Dry-ice machine on the counter!’ To my surprise and delight, all fifteen images were exactly where I’d left them.  But would those memories really stick, I wondered? A week from now, would I still remember Ed’s to-do list? ... ‘Those images will hold in your mind far longer than you might expect,’ Ed promised me.  ‘And if you revisit the journey through your memory palace later this evening, and again tomorrow afternoon, and perhaps again a week from now, this list will leave a truly lasting impression.’ ”

Next time you’re stuck, just close your eyes, take a stroll, and stumble upon the information in your own memory palace.

For more information: joshuafoer.com/moonwalking-with-einstein

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