Pump it up! Tips on training your “memory muscle”
If memory were a muscle, you’d probably enroll your employees in regular strength-training exercises. A good memory can help your sales staff seal the deal by forging stronger personal connections with clients. It can assist your organizational leaders in making tighter, more polished presentations. Likewise, it aids employees in quickly recalling important research and project updates during strategic meetings.
The good news is, although it isn’t a muscle, your memory does work better when you exercise it. So, whether your hope is to grow your business by creating a smarter organization or to achieve greater balance in your personal life by recalling your to-do list with crystal clarity, your ability to amp up your memory is within arm’s reach.
Want to flex your mental memory muscle? There are some basic elements that contribute to our ability to process and retain information—and some of them have more to do with work/life balance than mental exercises. Here are six strategies to consider:
- Brain exercises: It’s important to give your brain a workout—especially during “off” hours. Keep your mind sharp with brain exercises at home, such as crossword puzzles, jigsaws, games like chess, or even video and computer games that require you to think or reason. Stock your break room with Sudoku books and crossword puzzles, with lots of logo’d pens nearby. Encourage employees to partake in these activities during breaks or lunch hours.
- Physical exercises: Physical exercise can help improve memory by sending oxygen-rich blood to the brain. According to Mark Vickers of the Human Research Institute, “Employees who engage in aerobic exercise could be enhancing the cognitive abilities that they bring to bear on their work.” Some employers offer workplace workouts, while others offer health club memberships. Encourage employees to use these perks to not only their physical but also mental advantage.
- Learn something new: One of the best ways to keep your mind sharp is to keep learning. Try out a new language, sport or hobby, or simply read. Any activity that engages your senses, while also making your brain, work will improve your memory by helping grow new brain circuits. Consider starting an in-office book club to stimulate the minds of your team, and give each new member a copy of their first book free upon joining. Then, reward standing members with logo’d book club gear for each successful referral they bring in. Some of our enticing favourites to build buzz around the office are lunch bags, booklights or seeded paper bookmarks.
- Brain food: A well-balanced diet featuring whole grains, fruits, vegetables and limited to moderate protein will provide fuel for your mind. Monounsaturated fats like olive, canola and peanut oils as well as foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids like fish and flax also provide memory benefits. And don’t forget the water! Show staff that their alertness and memory is important by holding a “brain food” day each month wherein your organization caters in a memory food-packed lunch for all to enjoy. Pack information regarding why each dish is “brain food” into a water bottle.
- Memory vitamins: B vitamins are closest to what you might call memory vitamins. B6, B12, niacin and folic acid are all known to protect the brain cells and improve memory. B vitamins are found in bread, whole-grain cereals, egg, milk, potatoes and bananas, among others. If it’s difficult to incorporate these foods into your diet, consider vitamin supplements.
- Sleep: Over time, sleep deprivation can hinder your brain’s ability to work effectively (and that third cup of coffee is no substitute for sleep!) Experts believe when the brain has no sensory interference during sleep, it is able to organize and revise information gathered during the day to store into memory. For optimal brain power, aim for at least seven hours of quality sleep per night.
Learn from the pros
4imprint customer Freedom Personal Development has built its business around personal and professional development. Perhaps it’s no surprise that improving memory is one of the top picks among business clients.
“It’s our most popular workshop,” said Marketing Director Katie Brandt, who adds business clients are always interested in memory training. “People say, ‘I cannot remember people’s names,’ but it also helps with remembering presentations, your to-do list or tricks on how to make things stick.”
If you’re planning a session on memory training, invite co-workers to fill out a short form detailing date(s) that work best for the training. Then, once you have your list of who’s going to attend, deliver a “Memory Kit” to each team member’s desk – a logo’d tote filled with everything they’ll need to make it through the training session in style: badge holder/note jotter, bottled water, and an imprinted pen and notebook set.
Improved client relationships. More polished presentations. Greater focus during important meetings. It’s no wonder harnessing workforce brainpower is on the minds of leaders in business! Channel your brain’s power and focus on developing your memory to yield an even stronger professional and personal presence. For more information on the topic of memory training, read our Memory Training Blue PaperSM.