What does the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve have to do with your presentation?

According to the German Psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus you are likely to forget what you learn within 7 days. After 24 hours he concluded that about two-thirds of anything memorised is forgotten. Not great news if you are trying to memorise your presentation. However, there are some things you can do to help yourself retain information.

  • Work out who you are presenting to and why. If you know what the end game is, even if you forget something during the presentation your point is still likely to come across.
  • We tend to remember the first and last items on a list – so break the information into sensible chunks or sections so there are more firsts and lasts.
  • For each section create an image that will help you remember the point you want to cover and it’s true that we usually remember the mad, the bad, the lewd and the rude. So, the madder, badder, ruder and lewder the better!
  • Think of a route you know well and link the images to the places on your journey so that you can keep track of where you are as you deliver your presentation.
  • Move as you learn. That way you may remember the feeling you have and what you were saying when you felt it.
  • Have your notes with you. Knowing that you have a list of bullet points that you can talk around means you won’t be so worried that your mind will go blank. And if it does, you’ll have something to help you get back on track. Bullet points are better than a full script as you’ll be tempted to read the script if you start using it.

Forgetting what you want to say is normal! All you need to do is create some strategies that help you to remember … in those moments when you forget!

Let me know if you have any tricks that you use.