Get Inside Your Mind Palace

If you are about to give a talk or deliver some teacher training then you will know things can get a bit stressful. That’s a good thing. You need to be on your toes but you also need to be relaxed.

For anyone that has had to do any public speaking then you will know that you worry about saying what needs to be said and how the hell you can remember it all.

Some use flash cards or notes and there’s nothing wrong with that if you don’t read every word from them that is.

Some use PowerPoint as a pair of crutches to lean on. There’s plenty wrong with that.

And then a few teachers use their heads. They prepare and when they speak everything appears to be unscripted and everything just seems to flow.

Are these teachers blessed with magical powers?

Not quite. But what they might be doing is accessing their Mind or Memory Palace. If you have seen Benedict Cumberbatch playing Sherlock Holmes as the “high-functioning sociopath”, then you will be familiar with this visualisation technique.

It’s actually called the loci method and was first developed during classical antiquity for learning long speeches by heart. The method is quite simple and works with sometimes devastating results. The term loci refers to places or locations.

The idea is that you think of a place that you are very familiar with and know well. This might be a room in your house. If you can picture pretty much everything in this room then this will really help.

You then link all the things you want to say to the things in the room. If you have a list of items to remember then you could place each person, place or thing in a different part of the room. So remembering all the managers of your favourite football team would work by visualising them sitting in different parts of the room. By grouping information in this way through association we are then able to access other linked information.

The method of loci is also used as a journey. As a memory method it really does work. What it isn’t that clever for is actually understanding information but it’s a starting point!


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