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5 REASONS
we forget
presentations
In order to understand how to create memorable
presentations, we must first understand

how memory works.
Memory
depends on
how well we
encode
information.
In other words, the better we learn
something, the better we remember it.
So why do we

forget

?
REASON #1
We often forget because we don’t pay
attention to content in the first place.
If you were asked to draw a penny
from memory, would you be able to do
it accurately?
If you were asked which icon is in the
lower right corner of your smart phone
home screen, would you know for sure?
If you were asked whether green or red
is at the top of a traffic light, would you
answer with certainty?
We pay attention only
to a small portion of
the world at any given
moment.
And your audiences
do the same.
Force them to pay
attention to what’s
important, and you
will help them
remember.
REASON #2
Some information is too similar to other
information.
Do you know if the slogan
below belongs to UPS,
FedEx, or DHL?

“

_______ provides the most reliable overnight delivery s...
Do you know if the slogan
below belongs to Tylenol,
Motrin, or Bayer?

“

_______ is the first choice of doctors for their...
Contrary to popular
belief, repetition
does not always
lead to better
memory.
When memories compete with other memories, there
is too much interference.

So we forget.
Make your important messages deviate from sameness.
REASON #3
Content is not processed deeply.
If someone told you that the capital of Togo
is Lomé, you might forget this quickly.
But let’s say I asked you to imagine yourself visiting Lomé, in Togo.
You meet someone who sweeps you out of your reality:...
Sometimes, we worry too much about the properties of a
slide (font or graphics), instead of the meaning of a slide.
Invite your audiences to
process information deeply
by invoking the senses,
asking questions, and
provoking conversations....
REASON #4
There is too much emphasis on knowing “that”
versus knowing “how.”
Too many presentations are factual and non-participatory.
In which case would you remember the word “cold” better?

Hot

Cold

Hot

C_ _ _
Self-generated
content leads to
better memory.

But how often do we
invite audience
members to co-create
content?
In an hour-long presentation, we tend to pack
every single unforgiving minute with information.
We are often so enamored
with our own brilliance that
we don’t have time for
others to generate their
own content during a...
Passive presentations are forgettable
presentations.
Remember this…
The botanist knows about
the plant.
The bee knows the plant
directly.
Enable your audience to be directly part of an experience,
and they will remember that part of the presentation better
tha...
REASON #5
The list of items presented is too darn long.
Do you remember what was on Slide 2
of this presentation?
Keep it short.
So let’s stop here.
Oh…What is the capital of Togo?
For more information on
the science behind
memorable presentations,
visit:
www.reximedia.com/work
shops
How to make it impossible to
forget
1. Draw attention to what’s
important.
2. Deviate from sameness
for important items.
3...
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5 Reasons We Forget Presentations

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Learn 5 reasons why our audiences may not remember what we share in presentations. The principles are rooted in cognitive science.

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  • Title Distinctiveness
  • Transcript of "5 Reasons We Forget Presentations"

    1. 1. 5 REASONS we forget presentations
    2. 2. In order to understand how to create memorable presentations, we must first understand how memory works.
    3. 3. Memory depends on how well we encode information.
    4. 4. In other words, the better we learn something, the better we remember it.
    5. 5. So why do we forget ?
    6. 6. REASON #1 We often forget because we don’t pay attention to content in the first place.
    7. 7. If you were asked to draw a penny from memory, would you be able to do it accurately?
    8. 8. If you were asked which icon is in the lower right corner of your smart phone home screen, would you know for sure?
    9. 9. If you were asked whether green or red is at the top of a traffic light, would you answer with certainty?
    10. 10. We pay attention only to a small portion of the world at any given moment. And your audiences do the same.
    11. 11. Force them to pay attention to what’s important, and you will help them remember.
    12. 12. REASON #2 Some information is too similar to other information.
    13. 13. Do you know if the slogan below belongs to UPS, FedEx, or DHL? “ _______ provides the most reliable overnight delivery services. ”
    14. 14. Do you know if the slogan below belongs to Tylenol, Motrin, or Bayer? “ _______ is the first choice of doctors for their own pain relief. ”
    15. 15. Contrary to popular belief, repetition does not always lead to better memory.
    16. 16. When memories compete with other memories, there is too much interference. So we forget.
    17. 17. Make your important messages deviate from sameness.
    18. 18. REASON #3 Content is not processed deeply.
    19. 19. If someone told you that the capital of Togo is Lomé, you might forget this quickly.
    20. 20. But let’s say I asked you to imagine yourself visiting Lomé, in Togo. You meet someone who sweeps you out of your reality: sexy, dangerous, with a sense of the untamed. You make crazy love on the beach, blood roaring through your veins; you get to taste every inch, every texture… Is Lomé getting a bit harder to forget?
    21. 21. Sometimes, we worry too much about the properties of a slide (font or graphics), instead of the meaning of a slide.
    22. 22. Invite your audiences to process information deeply by invoking the senses, asking questions, and provoking conversations. The deeper the processing, the better the memory.
    23. 23. REASON #4 There is too much emphasis on knowing “that” versus knowing “how.”
    24. 24. Too many presentations are factual and non-participatory.
    25. 25. In which case would you remember the word “cold” better? Hot Cold Hot C_ _ _
    26. 26. Self-generated content leads to better memory. But how often do we invite audience members to co-create content?
    27. 27. In an hour-long presentation, we tend to pack every single unforgiving minute with information.
    28. 28. We are often so enamored with our own brilliance that we don’t have time for others to generate their own content during a presentation.
    29. 29. Passive presentations are forgettable presentations.
    30. 30. Remember this…
    31. 31. The botanist knows about the plant.
    32. 32. The bee knows the plant directly.
    33. 33. Enable your audience to be directly part of an experience, and they will remember that part of the presentation better than other parts.
    34. 34. REASON #5 The list of items presented is too darn long.
    35. 35. Do you remember what was on Slide 2 of this presentation?
    36. 36. Keep it short.
    37. 37. So let’s stop here.
    38. 38. Oh…What is the capital of Togo?
    39. 39. For more information on the science behind memorable presentations, visit: www.reximedia.com/work shops
    40. 40. How to make it impossible to forget 1. Draw attention to what’s important. 2. Deviate from sameness for important items. 3. Enable participants to process content deeply. 4. Invite them to be part of an experience. 5. Keep it short.

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