The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 8 months ago

Tips from the International Man of Memory You Can Use Today w/ Chester Santos

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

If you had the superpower of a flawless memory, what would you do?

How many fights could you have avoided with your spouse?

How much further in your career could that superpower take you?

Well you don’t have to fantasize about it when you can achieve it.

According to International Man of Memory, Chester Santos, U.S. Memory Champion and author of Mastering Memory, his champion memory isn’t a superpower — it’s a skill.

And it’s one anyone can learn.

In this episode, Chester shares his secrets, including:

  • Why the inner workings of memory are something you can hack
  • The 3 secrets to remembering anything
  • How you can apply memory techniques to improve your life and career

This post includes highlights of our podcast interview with Chester Santos, U.S. Memory Champion and author of Mastering Memory.

For the entire interview, you can listen to The B2B Revenue Executive Experience. 

If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, we suggest this link.

You're listening to the BTB revenueexecutive experience, a podcast, dedicated elpin executives, train theirsales and marketing teams to optimized growth, whether you're looking fortechniques and strategies were tools and resources. You've come to the rightplace. Let's accelerate your growth in three to one: welcome everyone to theBto B revenue executive experience. I'm your host Chad Sanderson today we'retalking about memory. That thing that is, we get older, we often findbecoming less reliable and but it remains critical not only to oursuccess but also to our selfimprovement to help us. We have with US Chester,Santos, the international man of memory he's one of the world's formost expertson memory, training, he's ELP thousands of people around the world to realizethe benefits of an improved memory and strapper mind an has appeared in NewYork Times, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco, Chronicl, Washington, PostUSA, today, PBSC andn and various other television, radio and print media allover the world. Chester. Thank you for taking time and welcome to the show.Thank you so much for having me chat. I'm really looking forward to talkingwith you all right. So before we jump into the topic of memory, we alwayslike to give our guess an opportunity to expose themselves a little bit andask an odd question, so our audience gets to know you a little bit betterand obviously you're passionate about memory and we're going to talk aboutthat. But I'm curious, what's something else, you're passionate about that ourlisteners may be surprised to learn, surprised to learn, possibly close upmagic. That's been a hobby of mine over the years, but really it's developingskills in as many different areas as possible: Lifelong Learning, whichprobably isn't surprising to people. So I like to develop new skills. One hasbeen close up magic lately, I'm learning Russian how to speak Russian,so I'm always working on learning something new all right. So I have toask why Russian well Russian now because I'm dating a Russian girl...

...but IA, the mother, nvention yeahyeahexactly, but I've also worked on Koreaan over the years differentlanguages. Okay, excellent. I appreciate that, andso now, let's talk about the contept member, what I meau Ow, what got youinto memory? How did this become a passion of yours? Well, it you knowpretty Raent, it's pretty random, how it all began. I was just flippingchannels. One Night: I happened to catch a segment on ABCs, Wo Thousandand twenty that evening news program. I caught a segment on the United StatesNational Memory Championship and it just sparked my interest, because Iwould often get the comment from people. People would say to me: Wow. You have areally good memory and with those comments in the back of my mind when Icaught that episode, I thought hm you know. Maybe I could do well in thiscompetition, but I quickly found out when looking into the best people inthe United States. I found out that, although I was probably above averagein terms of memory to begin without, I was nowhere near the level of the topcompetitors in the USA Memory Championship, memorizing, hundreds ofdigits, hundreds of names, decks of playing cards and just minutes. Sothat's when I started doing a lot of research into what are the ways as faras how can we take our current memory ability and magnify that to bring it toa much higher level, so I experimented with a lot of different techniquesbased on my research, I found what seemed to be working best for mepersonally, I stuck to training myself in that small subset of techniques.Until eventually I did manage to win United States Memory Championship andsince then I've spent the last thirteen plus years training other people aroundthe world in techniques that I feel can benefit them right away in their career,personal life and also in academic studies as well, and when it comes toworking with people around memoroom-...

...and this is depending on the age andhow people are approaching. You know t could be a sensitive thing for somepeople. It can be frustrating I'm sure for for others, but when you sit downto work with individuals to help them, you know improve their memory. What doyou ee? What's the largest challenge? You see most typically yeah the mostcommon Challengeso that I think people face is getting over the belief thatyou either are born with a good memory or a bad memory, and there's reallynothing. You know it's not. It isn't an area that can be nimproved upon or ifit is possible to improve it's going to be incredibly difficult. So in fact anyone you knoweveryone out there, no matter what your current level of memory ability you candramatically improve it with just the right techniques and a little bit oftraining and practice, and the whole process can be a lot of fun. So people are usually first exposed to mevia you know the media and I always try to make interviews fun interesting,provide some sort of interactive exercise. I hope that we can do that atsome point today or they're exposed to me through one of my presentations thatI give around the world, and I try to really in just a few minutes, make itclear that with the right approach, it's amazing what you will be able todo in terms of your memory, and so I probably like I'm. Unlike most of ouraudience, I have a a passion kin of Keek out on nerroscience and so for ouraudience. Can you give them some context about how memory actually works?The mechaniunarlying mechanics of it yeah? So memory is a series ofconnections in the brain. We are able to learn new things, the more weactually have stored into our memory, so learning and memory will always comedown to creating a connection in your mind between something new that you'retrying to learn and something that you already know. So, in fact, the morethat you already know the easier it...

...becomes to learn new things. So it'sthe opposite of what a lot of people think or maybe it's just an excuse thatpeople use. I often hear people say you know I don't want to learn all of thisuseless information. I don't really want to stuff my brain with anythingthat I could just look up right. You hear that a lot nowadays, especially aspeople, become more and more dependent on electronic devices, but in fact thatis not how memory works it will not fill up. If there's is, if there is alimit to human memory, we're not going to find it in our lifetimes. In fact,you can stuff your brain with as much information as possible and that'sgoing to benefit you in terms of your future learning. What gives you a givesyou a deeper well from which to drawn to form opinions, perspectives tochoose which actions or which directions you want to go. I've oftenseen people who don't take the time to let's say, engage with knowledge asmuch as rely on Google, like that, the Universal Knowledge Termi so having theability to cram more into your head or keep more. There, I think, is animportant focus for people. It's, I don't see a lot of people focusing onit. So very excited to have you on the on the show. I'm curious. I can'tremember if it was an HBR article. I can't remember where I read, but Iremember seeing something or reading something about how over time, memories,change or the way that they're accessed is. Is this true from your perspectiveore? Have you seen this be the case when you're working with individualsout there yeah? I understand, I believe, whatyou're hitting on there, but that wouldn't be my area of expertise. So Ibelieve what they're probably talking about is, especially in the case of episodicmemory. So you know your B, how you remember, for instance, a birthdayparty from when you were ten years old, how you remember it today, maybe tenyears later, certain details might be...

...altered, so it's episodic memory,experiences that we have do change over time. That's not really my area, myarea is more samantic memory, so facts figures, processes, procedures and I'mreally focused on the business applications and also how to apply itto university work as well. Okay, so yeah that isn't really necessarily myarea. HOW EPISODIC MEMORY CHANGES OVER TIME? Well. N, I think that's animportant distinction right for the audience. There's there's a concept ofepisodic versus semantic, and so when we talk about having a powerfulSamantic memory, there's principles right that you've come up with and kindof curious to have you kind of break down the top three fors top threeprinciples: Iof having that powerful Samantic memory, yeah the treemainprinciples that will always apply no matter what type of information factsfigures, processes, procedures names that you're trying to commit to memory.The three principles will always be one visualization try to turn theinformation in some way into something that you can picture something that youcan see in your mind, because we are very good at remembering things that wesee an example I'll give I'll give it in terms of names will get into names,maybe in more detail later, if there's time, but I'm just going to use this.To illustrate what I mean in terms of the power of visuals, you go to a party.You meet a lot of new people two weeks after that party is over you're talkingwith one of your friends that was there with you at the party, and your frienddescribes someone to you, Hey Chad. You remember that attorney that we met atthe Party a couple weeks ago he's also a member of the tennis club. As yourfriend goes through the description of the person a lot of times, you canpicture them in your mind right. You might even be able to visualize or pullup in your mind and image of what they...

...were wearing that night when you metthem at the party, but a lot of times, you can't manage to remember the name.Your friend also can't remember a person's name, and it's reallyfrustrating to both of you right. So that illustrates their that when itcomes to dealing with people, we tend to be pretty good at rememberingpeople's faces right, we can pull up an image of what they look like in ourmind, but we're not nearly as good at remembering the name. This makes sensewhen you think about it, because when we interact with people in various wayswe see the face right. The face is recorded into our visual memory, but wedon't see the name, it's something much more abstract to the brain. So it'sjust a good example of how good we are remembering things that we see, butwhen we don't see it's more difficult, so principal number one is try to turnthe information in some way into a visual in the case of names like if thename is Mike, I might visualizing microphone if the name is Alice. Imight picture a white rabbit, because that reminds me of Alice and Wonderlandand again I can get into names in more detail later. If there is time, butreally I wanted to introduce the the power of visualization principal number,two is after you have the visual try to involve more and more senses as you can,because, as you do, that you will be activating more and more areas of yourbrain and you'll, be building more and more connections in your mind to theinformation making it easier to retrieve it later on. So speaking ofthe neural science aspect of memory, which isn't not necessarily my area,mine is more the techniques that you can learn.There is an episode that I start in of PVs's Nova, science. I'm sure a lot ofpeople have heard of that show. I start an episode titled. How smart can we getor people can just google me chester, santols and PBS if they check it out.They'll see me performing some memory...

...feats on the show, and then I traineDavid Po people might also know David Poke from the New York Times and CBSNews. I trained him on the show and after that they had some people thatspecialized in the neural science they had some brain scientists on the showand the brain scientists explain for people watching at home. Okay, how didChester pull that off? How did David Poge pull it off with just just alittle bit of training from Chester? The brain scientist confirm that it'sbecause, with these memory techniques that I've mastered over the years thatI help people to learn that well talk about today, with these techniqueswe're recruiting more of the brain to help us areas of the brain that mostpeople don't involve when they try to commit things to memory, and part ofthat is learning to use additional senses in order to activate more of thebrain. So that's the second principle more senses. The third and finalprinciple is simply while you are seeing and experiencing all of this inyour mind, try to make it crazy unusual extraordinary in some way, becausethere is a psychological aspect to human memory, and that is all of uswithout putting forth any effort at all. We tend to remember things that catchusby surprise their strange unusual, extraordinary right, so if an elephantcrashed into the room that you're in right now chat, if that actuallyhappens at this moment, you would probably remember that for the rest ofyour life, even forty years later, you might tell the story you're, nevergoing to believe this. I was interviewing this memory guy for myshow, and while we were doing the interview and elephant just crashedinto the room, it might be stuck in your rain forever without you eventrying to commit it to memory, and although scientists actually don't tothis day, they don't understand exactly how that works in the brain. Howsomething goes in Ha long term memory and one second stays there foreverwereas other times. We spend weeks months on trying to get things intolong term memory and we find it difficult, although it isn't fullyunderstood, we just need to realize...

...there is that aspect to how humanmemory works, that psychological aspect, and then we can apply it to things.That would be useful, remembering names to get more to business, networkingremembering presentations and so on, excellent all right. So when we weregetting ready to set this up and stuff, we wanted to make sure we left somesome room so that we could kind of do a demonstration or an exercise, and sothis is kind of where we're at, and so I kind of going to turn it over to youand and have you do one of Yo exercises with me. I Guess D and See how it goescool, I'm glad you're up for it shat. I A'm going to use you as as the Guineapig her I'm going to. Have you try to commit a long list of random words toMenaly the whole exercise. I think front toback will take about fiveminutes or less total you're going to do your best commit this list of wordsto memory and people. Listening to the interview can follow along it's goingto be monkey iron rope, Kite House paper shoe worm envelope, Pencil, river,rock tree, cheese and dollar. Now, when isigt yeah, don't worry people s intimidatedby Ha? That's a normal reaction. If this were a live presentation, usuallyat this point I can see people in the audience looking at me as if I'm a bitcrazy, they think there's no way they're going to be able to remember ththe list of words, not unless I give them a long time to do it and if theywere to attempt it at all, they would usually. How would you usually commitsomething like that to memory you'd usually write it out over and overagain read it over and over again recite it to yourself over and overuntil you fill that you've drilled it into your head that approach withhatapproach, you are not making the most efficient use of the brain to encodeinformation into memory. If you manage to finally drill it into your head, itwill only be in the very short term. So if I were to ask you the word list in afew days, you would probably remember...

...close to zero of those words, but we'regoing to use a different approach that will make it it's going to be a muchmore fun and interesting approach, and it's going to be more easy and you'regoing to it's going to be much easier and you're going to have retention inthe long term of the list. So we're going to keep those three Mam, mainprinciples that I went over earlier in mind and we're going to use them tobuild a little story. So I want you to just visualize what I described to you.The first word was monkey, so I just want for you to visualize a monkey thatmonkey is dancing around. It's making monkey noises whatever monkey would sound like I'mworking on the monkey impression. But the point here is to try and see andhear that monkey in your mind and again the listeners can fall along with this.The monkey now picks up a gigantic iron, because that was the next word, like you would iron yourclothes with. So the monkey is dancing around with this gigantic iron. Theiron starts to fall, but a rope attaches itself to the iron. Maybe youeven feel the Rote Maye. It feel sort of rough right so really interact withit feel the rope you look up the rope yousee, the other end of the rope is attached to a kite. The Kite is flyingaround in the air you reach up and try and touch it. Maybe it's just out ofyour each that kites the kite now crashes into the side of a house,really see it smash into the House. The House, you notice, is completelycovered in paper for some strange reason: it's completely covered inpaper picture that that was the next word I had given out of nowhere a shoeappears and it starts to walk all over the paper. Maybe it's messing up thepaper as it's walking on it. That shoe really see that shoe the shoe smellspretty badly. so you decide to investigate and see why. So you lookinside of the shoe and you find a...

...little worm crawling around inside, ofthe shoe really see that smelly worm the worm jumps out of the shoe and intoan envelope. Maybe it's going to mail itself or something I don't know envelope was next out of nowhere apencil appears and it starts to write very quickly all over the envelope.Maybe it's addressing the envelope that pencil the pencil now jumps into a river andthere's a huge splash, like you wouldn't expect. When the pencil hitsthe river the river you notice is crashing upagainst a giant rock crashing up against a giant rock the rock flies out of the river itcrashes into a tree. This tree is growing cheese. Youprobably haven't seen a tree like that before this one's growing cheese andout of each piece of cheese shoots, a dollar a dollar comes out of each pieceof of cheese. Last word I had given, you was dollar now. You may alreadyknow all of those words actually, but I'm going to replay through Thi storyin about one minute or less and in your mind, you're. Just going to readvisualize that entire story replay through in your head, so we've got themonkey. It was dancing around with something. What was it dancing aroundwith? It was an iron something attached itself to the iron. It was a rope, theother end of the rope attached to a kite, the kite crashed into a house. Itwas covered in something hat was it was paper what walked on the paper? It wasa shoe what was crawling in the shoe. It was a worm. The worm jumped into anenvelope what wrote on it. It was a pencil the pencil jumped into the river.The river was crashing up against a rock that flew into a tree. What wasthe tree growing? It was growing cheese...

...and what came out of the cheese? It wasa dollar. So now you should be able to pretty easily recall the list of randomwords by simply playing through the story. In your mind, each object thatyou see in the story will give you the next random word. So Chad just give ita try. Take your time. Do Your best and people. Listening to the interview canfall along and see how well they do all right here we go all right. Sothere was a monkey playing with an iron, went to Drub a rope etached to it yeahrope. And then I look up and there's a kite gotitch crashes into a housecovered in news paper in my head. It's newspaper but paper that it yeah. Then there comes the giant shoe out ofnowhere which smells really bad inside. There's worm cut it that jump into an envelope to mail itselfsomewhere yeah. Then Pencil comes out to Addressin, then there's a splash, no there's Penigoes into a river, got it w rivers hitting rock uhhuh rock. It's re! Yes, he's growing! Do noshe's going cheese, yeah she's coming dollars hundred percent. You got it ahundred percent correct their chat, and I probably don't forget that because ofthat, visual is very cartoonish in my head, but I've got that visual up theregoing on yeah really well done there underpressure. I mean I just sprung that on you in the middle of an interview.Thank you for being up for that. You did really well, and people willdefinitely remember that, even weeks later, and if you just do one mentalreview a few weeks later, you will...

...remember even long term. So these typesof techniques combined with space repetition, review spaced out over timeor very good for long term memory. I get people emailing me even many monthsafter giving a presentation somewhere, they'll email me just wanting to showthat they can't believe they still remember all of the words in order it's and it's an amazing combination ofthose three principles that you talked about. So let's get take it to the nextlevel when it comes to business. You know: How do you see this playing outin business, or can you give us an example of of somebody or a companythat you worked with and how it kind of came to fruish and walkers through thatstory yeah? So there are just so many so many business applications. If we'regoing to stick to talking about the simple story method for now, if you'lltake it a little bit further and learn how to turn those images into mentalnote cards, you could for insttence give a presentation from memoryminimizing. The amount of notes you use minimizing them out of slides arealways going to be a much more effective and persuasive speaker. Ifyou can do that. So, for instance, if I were going to give a talk abouthealthcare in the United States, always a hot topic for discussion here in theUSI might start. I might start my first image with a stetoscope. You know thatthe doctor uses to check your heartbeat. That's just going to represent thebroad topic of healthcare. First thing I want to hit on in my presentationtalk about with audiences the high cost of healthcare in the United States. Imight imagine out of the stethoscope hundred dollar bills or shooting out ofthe stethoscope. The next thing I want to cover in my presentation is that,under current healthcare programs, a lot of times in order to get somethingcovered, we have to find a way to navigate through or cut through a lotof red tape. Maybe wrapping itself around the hundred dollar bills is allof this red tape. So that should give...

...you an idea of how you could applysomething as simple as the story method to giving a presentation. So I've givenpresentations all over the world, sometimes even with some famousprofessors, and although they may be a world class expert in their field, thecomment cards might not reflect the best scores, because a presentationsometimes is you know here slide number one on my research here slide numbertwo of my research there's a lot of charts and graphs. People start to fallasleep, and another problem is, and I've experienced this attending evenwhat I won't say, but just some really famous people's presentations. I get abit confused ind that they're saying one thing, but their slide is as of achort and you're kind of confused Tam. I supposed to be reading the the chartright now. Am I supposed to be reading the information on the slide, or am Isupposed to be listening to them, so it can be distracting right. I think it'salways going to be more effective if you can minimize the amount of notesminimize the amount of slides. So that's one thing, but this could alsobe preparing for a client meeting right. Your meeting with a a client orpotential client trying to sell your services right five to ten key things.You learn about them about their business. Five, ten key things youlearned about their competitors, ten keyways as to how your productofferings your services, can benefit them right when you are able to do thatin a client meeting, and just demonstrate that you know all of thisright demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. People have so much moreconfidence in you and your abilities. We always want to do business withthose people that we perceived to be the most of an expert in theirparticular field. Also, you know we perceive intelligence once someoneseems to have a razor short memory and in today's business world, when peopletend to be very dependent on electronic devices, they're not really preparingall of this information for meetings...

...they don't. They aren't able todemonstrate that knowledge when you're able to do it with a little bit ofmemory, training, you're much more memorable in business nowadays yeah. Ilove that. I love it all right. So, let's Change Direction here, a littlebit your obviously you know Youre traveling the world you're givengpresentations is probably people that want to get in front of you and andsell you things or get some ideas in front of you and I'm always curious toknow when somebody doesn't have a trusted referral somebody in yournetwork efersmen and they still trying to capture your attention what worksbest when somebody's trying to capture your attention and earn the right totime on your calendar yeah. So I would say it is doing that researchdemonstrating in some way their knowledge their expertise, so thatmight get them the call, but I've had you know. I've been a one man businessnow for twelve plus year, since two thousand and eight is when I startedand I've had to hire all sorts of professionals, marketing, Pr Tech, and when I have that initial call withsomeone, if I just you, know granted I'm on the Extrem and given what I do.But you know if they answer a lot of my questions with you know yeah. I havedone a little bit of work in the area, but I'll have to do some research andget back to you or refamiliarize myself with that particular topic, I'm justnot that impressed and I will never hire that person. On the other hand,when I've met with you know, people I'm thinking about hiring and my perceptionis after the call wow, they really knowtheir stuff. This is clearly the expert I've gone out of my way in certaincases to pay even more than I originally budgeted for for thatparticular project, because I want the person, that's just really impressive-that I perceive to be the expert. So I guess my answer is: Do a lot ofpreparation to do whatever you can to...

...show that you were a cut above the restand that you are truly the expert in that particular field, and I think,maybe also to I'm given passionate answer to this, maybe because I've hadto hire so many different people over the years to do so. Many differentprojects also another way, I think is you know that you can get moreofferrals, of course, is to do just an extraordinary job and ive justunfortunately hired a lot of people over the years that I wasn't thatimpressed with their their level of conpitence. I guess in their particularfields, youv got to do whatever you can to up up your knowledge and skills, love it, and so our last question. Wecall it our acceleration insiht. If you could give one piece of advice to salesor marketing or professional services, people, one piece of advice- that, ifthey listen to and started apply, you believe would help them exceed theirtargets. What would it be and why yeah? I think I started a hit on it and myprevious answers just really do the best job that you possibly can keepupskilling. I get upskilling if that's a word or not upping your skills toreally make sure that you are at the top of your field, so that when you docomplete project work for someone that they are going to refer you to theirfriends, family members and colleagues, again, I've hired a lot of people overthe years that just weren't again, I'm picky. I think someone,someone that's you know dedicated the time to become a memory, chamdion habitof a strong educational background as well. I mean I've just hired marketingand PR people over the years, where the copy that they wrote had somegrammatical errors or the logical F, the there wasn't a logic to the flop.The writing and things like this I felt like I- was dealing with a B or cstudent or something and I'm grading there, I'm grading their work.

I feel like a lot of times. I couldhave done a better job, so you don't want that to happen. I mean you reallywhatever you might be currently weak in spend some time to work on developingthat always work on upskilling upping your skills, so that peoplewl be veryimpressed with your work and then you're going to get referrals. I loveit chester. I can't thank you enough for taking time to be on the show. Iflistener wants to reach out to you, learn more about what you do or engagewith you. Where would you like us to send them yeah? If people would like tofurther develop their memory skills, they can go to memory school dotnete. Iwould visualize a giant fishing net, maybe to remember that it's dot net, somemory school dot net. I did set up a special code for your audience. Itwould just be B to be so. The letter be the number two the letter B, so btob isthe code I seid it to be ballid for fifty uses, so the first fifty peopleto use that code will be able to get started at memory school dot netwithout any enrollment fe at all. Excellent. Thank you very much againand thanks for taking time to share your insights with us. Thank you somuch for having me chat. I really appreciate it all right, everybody thatdoes it for this episode. You know the drill be to be revezeccom share withfriends, family coworkers. You like what your giveus review an itunes anduntil next time we AV vaselling associates with rwell nothing with thegreatest success. You've been listening to the BTBrevenue executive experience to ensure that you never miss an episodesubscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you somuch for listening until next time.

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