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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.

Published in: Business, Technology
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5 Reasons We Forget Presentations

  1. 5 REASONS we forget presentations
  2. In order to understand how to create memorable presentations, we must first understand how memory works.
  3. Memory depends on how well we encode information.
  4. In other words, the better we learn something, the better we remember it.
  5. So why do we forget ?
  6. REASON #1 We often forget because we don’t pay attention to content in the first place.
  7. If you were asked to draw a penny from memory, would you be able to do it accurately?
  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. If you were asked whether green or red is at the top of a traffic light, would you answer with certainty?
  10. We pay attention only to a small portion of the world at any given moment. And your audiences do the same.
  11. Force them to pay attention to what’s important, and you will help them remember.
  12. REASON #2 Some information is too similar to other information.
  13. Do you know if the slogan below belongs to UPS, FedEx, or DHL? “ _______ provides the most reliable overnight delivery services. ”
  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. Contrary to popular belief, repetition does not always lead to better memory.
  16. When memories compete with other memories, there is too much interference. So we forget.
  17. Make your important messages deviate from sameness.
  18. REASON #3 Content is not processed deeply.
  19. If someone told you that the capital of Togo is Lomé, you might forget this quickly.
  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. Sometimes, we worry too much about the properties of a slide (font or graphics), instead of the meaning of a slide.
  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. REASON #4 There is too much emphasis on knowing “that” versus knowing “how.”
  24. Too many presentations are factual and non-participatory.
  25. In which case would you remember the word “cold” better? Hot Cold Hot C_ _ _
  26. Self-generated content leads to better memory. But how often do we invite audience members to co-create content?
  27. In an hour-long presentation, we tend to pack every single unforgiving minute with information.
  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. Passive presentations are forgettable presentations.
  30. Remember this…
  31. The botanist knows about the plant.
  32. The bee knows the plant directly.
  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. REASON #5 The list of items presented is too darn long.
  35. Do you remember what was on Slide 2 of this presentation?
  36. Keep it short.
  37. So let’s stop here.
  38. Oh…What is the capital of Togo?
  39. For more information on the science behind memorable presentations, visit: shops
  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.