If you’re new to memory skills, here’s where to start. This is the basic technique that underpins virtually all expert memory systems. Its official title is the Linking System and it works because it taps into how your brain likes to work. Namely, it uses stories, fun, humour, weird stuff, craziness... no boring lists and definitely no reading the same thing over and over. Prepare to have fun – and wow your friends.
Memorising is very very hard to do if you’re just trying to drill random items or facts into your head. What the Linking System does is remove the randomness between items, forming connections between them, and creating action sequences that make Hollywood blockbusters look tame. It’s all up to you and the power of your imagination
Get someone to write you a list of words or objects to remember. Say there’s a banana, a ball, a paintpot, a hammer, a teapot...
Choose your first object, and use your imagination to create a memorable image for this in your mind. A boring old banana, for example, is no good. Imagine it huge, or gyrating, or blue. Or all three.
Now link this first item to the next. In this case it’s the ball. So perhaps your huge gyrating banana could sprout a hand and start bouncing the ball on the ground.
Now link the ball... to item 3, the paintpot. And make it memorable. So the ball could fly into the open paintpot with a giant splash which causes paint to fly everywhere... See the paint, hear the splash.
Continue linking each item to the next in a story. Just make sure that each link is really visual, unusual and memorable. Go wild – make it funny, surreal, even rude (ssh). Whatever works for you.
Rehearse the whole story in your mind a couple of times.
And off you go – you should be able to remember the whole list effortlessly. And even backwards... give it a try.