We give speeches a lot, whether they're toasts at weddings or presentations at school or at work. Learning a speech doesn't have to require rote repetition. It doesn't have to be boring, slow, or a chore. In fact, it can be fun, fast, and effective.
The Loci Method
- Loci is short for location. This method is also referred to as the “memory palace.”
- People used this technique before there were smart devices or even a printing press.
- 2500 years ago, a Greek orator named Simonides gave a reading. After he left the building, it collapsed, and Simonides was given the task of identifying the bodies. He was able to remember who they were based on where they were sitting.
- As hunters/gatherers, our brains didn’t need to memorize words and numbers. We needed to know where things were – things like enemy tribes, clean water, and good food. It was essential to our survival. So we are better at remembering places.
- If you’ve ever used the phrase “in the first place,” you used language left over from this technique.
How to Use the Loci Method
Pick 10 Key Points
- Find the 10 major points of your speech.
- You don’t need to know it word for word, or you’ll sound rote and rehearsed. You need to know the main points in the correct order so you can start at the right place if you’re thrown off with a question.
- If you don’t have a speech to memorize, use my 10 favorite brain foods or the 10 keys to unlocking brain health.
Create 10 Landmarks
- Select 2 rooms in your home and create 5 landmarks in each.
- Imagine you are standing in the doorway and go clockwise.
- Pick places, not empty space. Instead of picking a corner of the room; pick an object in the corner.
- Pick things that are relatively large, like the coffee table, not the figures on it.
- Pick only one of each item per room. If you have 4 chairs, use one chair.
- If you need to create more than 10 landmarks, use other rooms. You can also use your office, your car, and more. Get creative!
Pair Each Key Point to A Landmark
- Create an image for each key point.
- Put each key point into its corresponding place.
- The first key to unlocking brain health is a good brain diet. If your first place is the radiator, imagine blueberries and walnuts on the radiator.
- The second key to unlocking brain health is killing ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts). If your second place is the piano, imagine killing ants on the piano.
- The third key to unlocking brain health is exercise. If your third place is the couch, imagine doing pushups on the couch.
- Making the image intense will help you remember it with less repetition.
Knowledge isn’t power; it’s potential power. You don’t know something unless you do it. So practice! Practice makes progress.
Your Homework Assignment
- Create 10 places. Write them down if you need to, and memorize them forwards and backwards.
- Practice this technique with what you need to remember!
- How did you do? Let me know by tagging @KwikLearning or @jimkwik on Twitter and Instagram.