Telling a Story to Build Your Memory Power
By Ron White Memory Expert and USA Memory Champion
In the levels of memory training, association includes elements of memory training, such as acronyms. Have you heard of acronyms? An acronym is a series of letters created using the first letter of each word. IBM is an acronym for International Business Machines. AT&T is an acronym for American Telephone and Telegraph. These are used by companies because they are easier to remember. When I was in high school, my science teacher told me that I could learn the colors of the rainbow in the correct order by remembering the name Roy G Biv.
R for red, O for orange, y for yellow, G for green, B for blue, I for indigo, and V for violet. Another acronym I learned in school was an easy way to remember the Great Lakes. It is called homes. H.O.M.E.S. H for Huron, O for Ontario, M for Michigan, E for Erie and S for Superior. That is an easy way to learn the Great Lakes.
Can acronyms be used for everything? No. Are there more advanced ways to retain information? Yes. However, every level of memory training is important, and you never know when a good old fashioned acronym is what you need to use to recall some vital information.
A link is a method of recalling information by telling a story. Many ancient books, such as the Bible, were passed down from one generation to the next this way. I bet you can sing many of your favorite tunes on the radio and not miss a beat. The reason is that you have, number one, incorporated the link method of memorizing by linking one thought to the next, songs also incorporate rhythm which helps your memory. A link is simply linking one thought to the next. For example, here is a list of 19 items. If I ask you to memorize them using basic association, it would not work. For example, number one is Mount Rainier, number 2 is ice, number 3 is trees, number 4 is bicycle. What do these items have in common with the number they are with? Nothing that I am aware of. So, in this case, basic association would not work.
The next level is the chain of association or the link. Sit back, relax and enjoy this story. I want you to focus on seeing the images in this story very clearly, vividly and powerfully. Here is the story:
Mount Rainier has ice on the top and trees on the side. Coming down the mountain is a bicycle ridden by a German shepherd. He has a glass of water in one hand and a shoe in the other. At the bottom of the mountain, he crashes into a TV set and lands on a pillow. He bounces off the pillow onto a trampoline, and bounces off the trampoline into an airplane. The airplane lands in Dallas and Richard Nixon is waiting for him. He has on a brown hat, black boots; he hands him a check for $50,000 and the keys to a brand new Corvette. He then drives the Corvette back to Mount Rainier.
Now, we’re going to do this one more time. The difference is I want you to repeat the items out loud. By the way, if you move your hands and use body language, you’ll have reinforced the pictures in your mind. So, here we go. Sit back and read this story. Mount Rainier has ice on the top and trees on the side. Repeat with me. Mount Rainier has ice on the top and trees on the side. Coming down the mountain is a bicycle ridden by a German Shepherd. Repeat with me, coming down the mountain is a bicycle ridden by a German Shepherd. He has a glass of water in one hand and a shoe in the other. Repeat with me, he has a glass of water in one hand and a shoe in the other. At the bottom of the mountain, he crashes into a TV set. Repeat with me, at the bottom of the mountain, he crashes into a TV set. He lands on a pillow, bounces on a trampoline, and bounces off the trampoline into an airplane. Repeat with me, he lands on a pillow, bounces on a trampoline, and bounces off the trampoline into an airplane. The airplane lands in Dallas and Richard Nixon is waiting for him. Repeat with me, the airplane lands in Dallas and Richard Nixon is waiting for him. He has on a brown hat and black boots. Repeat with me, he has a brown hat and black boots. He hands him a check for $50,000 and the keys to a brand new Corvette. Repeat with me, he hands him a check for $50,000 and the keys to a brand new Corvette. He then drives the Corvette back to Mount Rainier. Repeat with me, he then drives the Corvette back to Mount Rainier. Did you use body language with it? I always do. I hold out my hands like I’m holding a glass of water and a shoe. I bounce like I’m on the trampoline and I act like I’m Richard Nixon, and I stick out my hands like they have keys and $50,000 in them.
Let’s do this one more time. Here we go. Focus on the story:
Mount Rainier has ice on the top and trees on the side. Repeat with me. Mount Rainier has ice on the top and trees on the side. Coming down the mountain is a bicycle ridden by a German Shepherd. Repeat with me. Coming down the mountain is a bicycle ridden by a German Shepherd. He has a glass of water in one hand and a shoe in the other. Repeat with me, he has a glass of water in one hand and a shoe in the other. At the bottom of the mountain, he crashes into a TV set. Repeat with me, at the bottom of the mountain, he crashes into a TV set. He lands on a pillow, bounces to a trampoline, and bounces off the trampoline into an airplane. Repeat with me, he lands on a pillow, bounces to a trampoline, and then bounces off the trampoline into an airplane. The airplane lands in Dallas and Richard Nixon is waiting for him. Repeat with me, the airplane lands in Dallas and Richard Nixon is waiting for him. He has a brown hat and black boots. Repeat with me, he has a brown hat and black boots. He hands him a check for $50,000 and the keys to a brand new Corvette. Repeat with me, he hands him a check for $50,000 and the keys to a brand new Corvette. He then drives the Corvette back to Mount Rainier. Repeat with me, he then drives the Corvette back to Mount Rainier.
Now it is time to see how many that you recalled. Now, on a sheet of paper write down all the items in this list. Don’t write out the story, instead, simply write each noun in the story. For example, Mount Rainer will be the first item on the list.
Set the book aside now and write down the items there are 16 items. Do not spend more than 4-5 minutes on this exercise. After you done come back and check your answers. Answers below:
1. Mount Rainier
2. Bicycle
3. German Shepherd
4. Glass of water
5. Shoe
6. TV set
7. Pillow
8. Trampoline
9. Airplane
10. Dallas
11. Richard Nixon
12. Brown hat
13. Black boots
14. check for $50,000
15. Keys to a brand new Corvette
16. Mount Rainier

Well, how did you do? Did the link method work for you? I bet you did pretty well. Our minds are truly the greatest computers ever created, and I mean that. Don’t get caught up in being perfect right now. This is a very basic memory method but sufficient to memorize lists where it is not important to know what #6 is without having to think about it. I must confess I don’t use this method by itself very much. However, I do couple this method with the journey method or loci method often to store more than one piece of information on each file.
Enjoy the power of your brain!

Author's Bio: 

Ron White memory training expert is a two time USA Memory Champion and has held the record for the fastest to memorize a deck of cards in the USA (1 minute 27 seconds). He taught his first memory seminar in 1991 after attending a memory workshop as a college freshmen. Before the workshop on memory he had no idea his brain could be trained this way and yours can too! Since then he has appeared on Good Morning America, Fox and Friends, CBS Evening News, CBS Early Show, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, The Martha Stewart Show and newspapers, magazines and shows across the country discussing memory. Ron is sought after as the nation's number one memory training expert and teaches business professionals and students how to maximize their memory to remember names, numbers, chapters of books, languages, poems and everything else.
www.brainathlete.com and www.ronwhitetraining.com