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Five Better Ways To Remember Lists

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As marketing and business professionals, we've all been there... Big presentation, large groups of people, a lot of pressure... How am I going to remember my key points?

Last weekend, former US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin was the featured speaker at the Tea Party Convention in Nashville, TN. Later in the day, during a question and answer session, to remember her key points she snuck a look at notes she had written in ink in the palm of her hand.

Let's see what she had written.

[Fig. 1 Sarah Palin's Hand]

It reads:

  • Energy

  • Budget cut

  • Tax

  • Lift American Spirits

Below are five methods to avoiding what happened to Sarah.

Ways To Remember Short Lists

What happened to Sarah could have happened to any of us. As a manager, a marketer having to influence people, stay on top of the issues, and remain confident are expectations of our roles. You are the expert - if you don't know it, who does?

1. Mnemonic Device: Acronym

Create an acronym or phrase out of the key words. For example, I remember the colors of the rainbow from the name "Roy G. Biv" (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet).

Perhaps Palin could have used BELT. (Budget, Energy, Lift, Tax)

2. Mnemonic Device: Short Sentence / Story

Alternately, she could have made a short sentence - almost a short story - about the topics. Perhaps...

Spend Energy Lifting Not Taxing

All the key words are there in a simple sentence.

3. Learn It

Some criticize Sarah for needing notes at all to answer the basic question. As a subject matter expert, this information, her 'elevator pitch' for change, should roll off her tongue. (After all, it's only four items).

As a marketing or business lead your colleagues, operations team, agency, et al are looking to YOU to be the expert.

4. Note Cards

There's nothing wrong with using notes and note cards. Nobody is expected to remember everything.

The two main issues with what happened to Sarah were:

  1. Earlier in the day she referred to the Tea Party movement as being "much bigger than any charismatic guy with a teleprompter."

  2. She tried to sneak a look - and got busted. She pretended to know. She would have been better off simply carrying and openly referring to notes.

She would have been fine if she had her list written in LARGE PRINT placed flat on the table next to her water.

[Fig. 2 Table Would Have Worked For Note Cards]

5. To-Do Tattoo

Finally, if you MUST write on your hand - do it properly.

[Fig. 3 To-Do Tattoo]

Use the To-Do Tattoo - "the perfect solution for your shoddy short-term memory."

It is a temporary tattoo with lines, and a skin-safe washable gel pen. You can have Amazon deliver one.

Unfortunately, we now have a new word in the Urban Dictionary: the "redneck teleprompter."

What techniques have you found helpful to recall important information while under pressure?

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