Smart Thinking

In keeping with this post here is a summary of what I have learnt from this article which is reproduced in part from Enterpreneur

1 Think of memory as contextual and designed to give you information about what to expect and how to solve problems in that setting or environment

2 Stop multi-tasking and use your whole body to focus and pay attention see this post.

3 From every new leaning focus on just three key points to remember and record this down either on paper or on a blog.

Most of us think that having a good memory is a trait that’s outside of our control. But good memory is a skill and learning how to improve it can help you become a more creative and innovativer.

The first step is changing the way you think about your memory. Your memory isn’t designed to remember names, find missing keys, or store every password you’ve ever created. Your memory is designed to work in context. For example, if you try to make a list of every vegetable you can remember, you will make a much longer list if you imagine walking through a grocery store.

“What your memory is really for is giving you information about what to expect in the world and how to solve problems in those situations,” says Art Markman, a cognitive psychologist and author of Smart Thinking (Perigee Trade, 2012). Ideally, you want your memory to be filled with useful information that helps you solve tough business problems.

To store substantive memories that will make you a more creative thinker, try these three tips:

1. Engage both your body and mind. If you want to remember new ideas, you need to listen and focus. First, stop multitasking. “The human mind doesn’t multitask really, it timeshares,” Markman says. “You end up flipping back and forth between tasks, which makes all of your learning less effective.”

To enhance your memory even more, engage your body as you listen. Sit up straight, take notes, stand up if you feel tired, gesture or move around a bit. “Engage your whole self,” Markman says. “We’re not just brains in a box.”

2. Review three points you want to remember. When you learn new information (by reading a book or attending a meeting, for example), you tend to remember only about three things. To control what you remember, Markman recommends reviewing the three takeaways that matter most to you. “Otherwise, you leave the three points up to chance,” he says.

When the information is fresh in your mind, take a few minutes to review the most useful points. Try saying them into a tape recorder, writing them in a journal, or recounting them to a friend. “That helps solidify those three points in your memory,” Markman says.

3. Explain new concepts to yourself. For an entrepreneur, a rich memory helps you combine disparate ideas to find a novel solution. “To do that, you need to understand how the world works,” Markman says. You gain that knowledge — and remember it — by explaining new concepts to yourself or to someone else.

AIM to improve your memory

AIM to improve your memory even more. Attention Interest Meaning

This article is courtesy of Phil Chambers Learning Technologies Ltd with a few of my own ideas thrown in.

Summary: Pay attention and your improved memory will will surprise you. Invest in attention and it will pay great dividends. When it comes to remembering stuff, create more interest and make it relevant to your circumstances and have fun. Be as wacky as your imagination will go and this added meaning will serve your memory well.


I could write at great length about memory principles, techniques and systems but this month, I thought I’d just give you three valuable tips that can combat the everyday failings of memory that convince many of us that we must be going prematurely senile.

So you remember them they spell out the simple acronym AIM!


How often are you fully in the moment giving your full attention to your surroundings?

With our every busier lives we have more and more demands on our time and our attention. Inevitably we disregard and filter out what is deemed unimportant at that moment.

For example, on the way to an important meeting, where you parked your car is not going to be at the forefront of your mind so is not paid attention to. When you come in from work, you put your keys down and focus on your kids, spouse, whoever is more important to you. Hours later your
have to waste time looking for your keys because you paid no attention to where you left them.

Similarly, imagine you’re a meeting some for the first time. You want to make a good impression so are thinking about what you are going to say to them while they are telling you their name. You are not paying full attention. It is little wonder then that you instantly forget it.

The insidious thing about inattention is you don’t notice it happening. The consequence of not being able to recall whatever, happens hours or sometimes days later so is you don’t make the connection to the cause. As a result you make the incorrect assumption that the there is a defect
in your brain, that you have a bad memory. This false belief starts to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you accept forgetting as inevitable you don’t even try to memorize things. You end up writing everything down and either get swamped in notes so you can’t find the information you need quickly or worse, you forget where you put the note. Rather than relying on note making or trying to ‘fix’ the problem with your brain by buying brain training software. Just invest a bit of attention
and stop forgetfulness before it occurs.

As you walk away from you car, look back for a second and deliberately observe the landmarks that identify where you left it. Is it near a distinctive tree, a lamppost or a particular building? This will be enough to lock the information into your memory.

When you meet people, focus on them. Listen each person’s name. Repeat it in your head or back to them out loud. If it is an unusual name, check that you heard it correctly. Ask them what it means. Ask them how to spell it and then repeat it back to them exactly the way they said it. Spelling it BACKWARDS in your head will really cement their name – for ever!

The simple act of paying attention will make a massive difference.


Are you interested in a particular sport or have a hobby that you are passionate about? Isn’t it easy to learn facts about it?

Ask a young football fan about their team. They can name all the players, all the scores of the matches that season and for years gone by, who scored the goals and when. This is a huge amount of data that they can recall effortlessly. Ask the same person about what they learned in their physics lesson and they are stumped.

Interest plays a massive role in memory. The brain is terrific at discarding unimportant data. If you’re not engaged and interested in something then you don’t assign it significance. The brain assumes that the information is unimportant so doesn’t store it.

We all sometimes have to learn stuff that we find tedious and dull. How can you make it more fun? Can you make it relevant to your life?

Say, you have to learn Newton’s laws of motion. If you’re not a physics geek like me then I guess this probably doesn’t strike you as fun. If, on the other hand, you are taught how Ronnie O’Sullivan can make a 147 break in snooker or how a rocket gets to the moon then that is interesting. Basically, this involved the same physics.


If something is meaningless it is hard to remember.

In the World Memory Championships competitors remember hundreds of binary digits. What could be more meaningless than endless stings of ones and zeros? They are able to memorize them because they give them meaning. Each group of digits are converted into a character or an action. Buy using placing these in familiar locations they take on meaning. For example, if Albert Einstein was firing a gun at Marylyn Munroe in you’re your living room, I think you might remember that!

The more unusual you make a mental picture the more memorable it becomes. So even though you will never actually see Albert Einstein fire a gun at Marylyn Munroe in your living room (mainly because they are both dead) – your imagination can make it seem real.

In everyday life, the same rules apply. If you’ve left you mobile phone at home and you don’t have a pen and paper to hand but a gorgeous girl (or hunky guy depending on your proclivity) gives you his/her number, you need to remember it.

If numbers are important to you then you can learn a complex system to make them stick in your memory. If you don’t feel like the work required to do this, you can give them meaning in another way.

Say the number 0207  9921101

Break it down:

0207 99 21 101

Your bedside clock read seven minutes past two in the morning, you are awoken by someone playing Nena’s Eurovision hit ‘99 Red Balloons’.

It’s you neighbour’s 21st birthday party

As you look out of the window to complain you see 101 Dalmatians bounding down the road.

Doesn’t the story mean more than the number?

With these three simple techniques and no complicated mnemonics you can make you memory work better. If you want to make it super-human then you do need to learn some more sophisticated techniques. For most people though, knowing where you left the car keys, remembering the names of people you meet and the phone number of a hot date would be
a pretty good start.

Thomas Cook 10 Minute Presentation CRMI September 2012

Presentation to Keith and Jonathan @ 11:00 local TCX Hangar Main Boardroom

Check over for VAK and positives

Time 00:00             (What) Good morning Jonathan, good morning Keith. My name is Andrew Hardman and going to talk to you today about HOW anybody can change their behaviour by simply changing their physiology.

(Why/why not) I’m going to share this simple yet very powerful insights from NLP with you for two reasons, firstly because I thought you may be interested in it and secondly because you may see an application for it with CRM.

Time 00:30             (Credibility) Now I was first introduced to it about 20 years ago and I’ve been studying NLP seriously for about 5 years. I’m now qualified as an NLP Practitioner and Master Practitioner although I have lots more to learn.

So what is NLP – well it stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming and for the purposes of today’s session it’s the Study of HOW people tick or HOW we make sense of the world around us.

As with all things NLP I encourage you to be sceptical and please don’t take my word for it. Test it out for yourself. Try some of these ideas out and come to your own conclusions. If it works then brilliant, if it doesn’t then bin the idea and stick with what you currently do. The choice is yours. One of the great things that NLP can do for us is to increase our options which is always a good thing.

Please ask questions at the end unless there’s something that you don’t understand and I’ll deal with it right now.

Time 01:30              (How)

  1. I’m going to use an example
  2. Introduce you to the NLP concept and then
  3. Have a look at what happens when we apply these ideas to our example.

Time 02:00               You are stuck in a traffic jam on the way to an airport where you are about to fly to Vancouver. As usual your ticket is non refundable, cheapskate, non transferable and you must catch this flight or lose £650. How do you think you could be behaving guys?

04:00             First Bit – second best remembered.

Imagine a circle with a Mercedes Benz symbol in the middle. Better still take out a piece of paper and draw it out. Now label these three segments with the words:

  • Thinking
  • Physiology and
  • Mood or the way that we feel at that moment

It doesn’t matter which way you orientate these words because what I invite you to consider is that they are all inter-dependent on each other. In other words – change one and the other two will change in some way.

06:00              Middle Bit – least remembered.

So let’s explain these labels in a little more detail.

  • Thinking – internal processing – map of the world – internal representation – VAK
  • Mood – by this I mean how you are feeling. Down Confident Excited Nervous Anxious Happy Sad Fearful Envious Loving.
  • Physiology – basically our movement – or lack of, our breathing rate and depth, pulse rate, posture, gestures, eye focus and gaze, muscle tension, limb positions, facial expressions and the alignment of our spine and head.

Remember that if we change one the others will change in some way.

07:00              End Bit mostly remembered.

So what? Well here’s a thing. Our Mood drives our behaviour and not the other way round. So now draw an arrow from your Mood segment and label that Behaviour.

08:00            So back in our car guys how can we change our physiology then?

  • Breathing – slow down Huna
  • Head position – Look up
  • Be aware of our gestures – tense – tapping, gripping, clenched teeth, heart rate
  • Temperature
  • Posture – move!

And in turn this will change our thinking and our emotional state and ultimately our behaviour.

09:00     So to summarise NLP offers us a way of changing our behaviour to a more resourceful one by changing our mood. I’ve used the example of driving a car and i’m sure you can think of examples where this approach could be used at TCX whether it’s going through security or dealing with a difficult passenger.


10:00 Thanks to you for your attention and do you have any questions?



Ideas from Rapport Summer 2012 edition

Currently reading this edition of Rapport. Youu can get a “lite” version free of charge from the following address:


I like the idea at the bottom of the article paragraph 6. Personal debrief and a summing up of the session by asking:

  • So how much more have you learnt today? 
  • What else do you now know about yourself?
  • How will this knowledge help you to move forward?
  • What might you have to be cautious about now?
  • What is now possible?
I think that leaving some time at the end of a session will help to re-emphasise the benefits from the time spent together. It will also draw a nice end to the proceedings with a positive message and stuff to think about moving forward.