Archives for posts with tag: Memory

They say that three’s a crowd, but for me there’s something elegant, memorable and succinct about groups of 3.

I like the grouping of that particular number. We seem to be locked into the number 3 in a way that 1, 2 or a number greater than 3 can’t really get to. Maybe that’s why we feel so comfortable with TLAs, those handy ways of summarising a sometimes difficult concept inĀ  3 easy letters. NGO, PVC, and of course TLA; each industry or milieu has a gazillion of them, serving as shorthand, occasionally inclusive but also sometimes excluding.

Business seems to be fond of the number 3 as well. Getting 3 quotes is always advisable, 3 key metrics is a good management starting point, and a good presentation slide starts with 3 bullet points. I know I’m easy with it, and many times in my writing, from this blog to reports and even books, I find myself grouping my phrases into 3’s. You can see an example in the first line of this post. Another example might be ‘let’s make sure we have a good session tomorrow, keeping it simple, focusing on the basics, and staying on track.’

So I shall continue my attachment to groups of 3. I like it, it works for me, and I think it resonates with my audience.


Short term memory. Lots of people complain that they have short term memory, fear that they’re losing their marbles.

Nothing of the sort. I forget things I heard in the recent past, but it’s not because I have short term memory issues. It’s because I haven’t engaged my brain properly.

There are plenty of self-help books to improve people’s recollection of names, people, events. The key thing to do is to listen – actively. There is of course a difference between hearing someone and listening to them, between seeing someone and looking at them, watching them. When you actively listen, when you put something small on the line that makes you establish a connection and fire a few more synapses than normal, you remember something, for a long time.

I can remember the names of attractive women I might have met only briefly at a party three decades ago. I can do the same with telephone numbers and car registration plates. Why? Because I had an interest in making the connection, so it elevated the information to a different part of my mental filing system.

So, if you want to get better at retaining information, concentrate more. Concentrate on actively listening and watching and making the right connection.