Do you know how your memory works?
What makes it easy to get things into your brain, remember those things, and use that information when needed?
And how can you do that for people you’re designing workshops for?
Use these six tips, based on how our memories work, to help you design a training that will actually be remembered.
First off, let’s start with powerful learning.
Part of what makes learning powerful is that it’s memorable.
I see SO many workshops and training designed AGAINST how we learn and against how memory works.
We can do better.
Don’t fall into the trap of creating training that no one will remember.
You’ve worked hard to gain your subject matter expertise; by focusing on these six tips, you’ll be creating powerful learning that people remember in no time.
Here are six simple things you can do to make sure you and your content stick in people’s memories.
1. Primacy and recency
This is fancy speak for something that’s actually quite simple. We tend to remember the beginning (primacy) and end (recency) of workshops. Making sure you have a strong beginning where you capture people’s attention, plus an equally strong finish to your workshop will go a long way to making you and your content memorable. More info on how to do that is here.
Emotion plays a strong role in memory. It has to do with your amygdala (two small almond-shaped bits in your brain). If your amygdalas are feeling comfortable and relaxed, then learning amps up. If your amygdalas decide you’re feeling embarrassed, ashamed, upset, angry, etc., then learning is blocked. So make sure you’ve included ways to help your participants feel welcomed, comfortable, and like they belong ….. a.k.a. feeling like they’re ready to learn.
3. Colourful events
Colourful events come from research by VonRestorff. These are things like (the strategic use of) humour, interactive activities, and engaging learning. When we include them in our training, then retention goes WAY up. Check your next workshop. Is it leaning towards lecture style? If so, add some colourful events so your participants remember you and your topic.
I get it. You’ve worked hard to become a subject matter expert so you may be tempted to fit more and more and more content into your workshop. That would be a big mistake, memory-wise. Giving participants breaks is a huge help for memory. What looks like a simple break, is actually your people’s brains sorting and sifting unconsciously through your content and deciding what to remember and what to ditch. Who knew a coffee break could be so valuable for memory?!
Your participants will come to your workshop with a vast number of things on their minds. Things like:
- Did I remember to turn off the stove this morning?
- I’m worried about who my kid is dating
- This is my first meeting since maternity/paternity leave. How is my baby doing????
- Hmmm, Nivi told me about that great movie. I wonder if we should go this weekend.
- What’s my bank balance? Am I going to make rent this month?
Etc etc etc. Give them and their brains a place to focus and amp up their memory by dividing your content into manageable chunks. An easy way to do that is to have a roadmap that shows where you are in the content as you move through the workshop. See the example image below.
Try to say not sing, the words to happy birthday. Go!
It’s because you learned that song by singing it, not by saying it. And because our brains adore rhythm, once we have learned a rhythm it’s really hard to forget it. Note: that’s why some late-night commercial sing-song commercials are so popular. Anytime you can incorporate rhythm into your workshop you’re ahead of the memory game.
How did you do with the six tips? Are you currently using any of them? Missing any?
Go ahead and implement them one at a time. They’re relatively easy tips to incorporate and the (memory) payoff is huge. Have fun and go forth with epic, memorable workshops.
Now go on and learn, laugh and lead
- Take my powerful learning survey as a way to prompt your own memories of fabulous learning. Then reflect on what made it memorable for you.
- Expand how people remember you and your content by not getting trapped in tunnel vision like these ultra fails from Task Master.
- When you design your next workshop combine what you reflected on that made your powerful learning memorable with the six tips above. Your future participants’ memories will thank you for it!
P.S. Let’s stay connected. Free weekly coaching by email on how to use humanity and humour to problem solve, right here.