reading: Setting objectives and previewing
Remembering names and faces
Creativity can be sparked
by anything that shifts your frame of reference to a novel place.
One technique for this is to use a random word.
If you've never
tried this take 10 minutes to give it ago now. You'll be surprised
at the results!
Step 1: Choose a random
word from the dictionary. Nouns work best. Or use the table below.
Don't change your word, even if you can't see any connection yet
just stick with it.
Step 2: Freely associate
(list any properties, uses or connected words of the object) on
the random word for a couple of minutes without thinking about your
Step 3: Write out the
challenge you need a creative solution to as a question to yourself:
E.g. How can I market my company in a completely different way?
Step 4: Tell yourself
there is a connection between your problem and the list of words
you now have from step 2.
Step 5: Make sure you
record even the oddest thoughts that come - they can often lead
to later insights that you wouldn't have reached any other way.
names and faces
Most people have trouble
with names and faces. The main reason is that the introduction takes
place so quickly (whilst you are also thinking about the conversation
to come) that the information doesn't have chance to move into long
term memory. If you think about a conversation at a meeting the
introductions may be over in just 30 seconds. You need to think
about things for about 2 minutes to get them into long term memory.
Slow down the introductions,
particularly if you are going to meet lots of other people that
First part - get them to repeat their name again (you can pretend
that the background noise is making it hard to hear) then repeat
their full name, including their surname back to them and check
that it is right. If you need to spell it, check that too (although
this is better done by asking for a business card).
Second part - teach them
your name by making a little story about it (for instance my name
is Greenhall so I get people to think about a hall decked with flowers
and greenery, I also find I gesture it with my hands. You'll often
find people reciprocate similarly with their name.
If you have time you
can ask questions about their surname, but don't get too personal
and remember this is not very useful with married women as it isn't
their original surname.
Pay attention to their face.
Look for distinguishing features (clothes and often hair are not
to be used as they might have changed next time you meet them).
In many cultures it is rude to stare too long at person so we look
over their shoulder, above their head or at their body, so try not
to do this all in one go but keep refocusing on their face.
Attach their name to their face. This
can be done on a couple of ways.
You can make up a visual story in your mind and attach it to their
face, the sillier and the more movement the better. E.g. for Greenhall
you could image a green hall on their nose with roses escaping from
Or you could (and you can do both) repeat their first name at least
5 times in a 10 minute conversation by tagging it on the end of
comments. I've done this in many training sessions and the volunteer
hasn't even noticed. Don't use their surname out loud but do add
it silently in your head.
If you are meeting a lot of people you will need to reinforce the
above. Take a couple of minutes straight after the meeting to recall
everything you can on the person, make note (backs of business cars
are good or use a notebook or PDA). Including whilst you do thinking
hard about their face. Redo this 24 hours later and next time you
meet them you should be able to get their name.
This hint is really about
effective use of reading material, without learning to read faster
you can deal with documents much quicker.
Step 1: Write an objective
for the reading material.
Consider what information you need and what you will use it for.
Step 2: Read only the
contents or introduction and index or summary (depending on the
Step 3: Do a very quick
preview - look at every page for only 3 seconds. Don't slow down
or pause, you can stick bookmarks in and note page numbers but just
keep going to the end of the document. Look for the structure of
the document and any parts relevant to your objective.
It is often a revealing and very interesting exercise to describe
the document to someone else at this point - you'll be amazed at
how much you've picked up.
Step 4: Revisit your
objective, is it still achievable? Do you actually need to read
the document? Do you need to rewrite your objective?
Step 5: Now read only
the parts of the document you need to.
Step 6: If it's difficult
to understand and you can don't re-read it the same day. Read it
once (after the preview) then do a review in exactly the same way
but then don't re-read the document until he next day as your sleeping
brain sorts out lots of difficult information.
Using the above you should
be able to get everything you need from a 10 page document in 10