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The Single Best Way to Improve your Brain Power

The Single Best Way to Improve Your Brain Power

The Single Best Way to Improve Your Brain Power

The single best way to improve your brain power is to learn to repeat whatever you are listening to, back to yourself, as you are hearing it.

The goal is to "echo" what the other person is saying, to yourself, in your own mind.

Try this mental training exercise: The next time you are listening to the TV news, try to listen AND repeat what you are hearing, a split second after you have heard it. You are attempting to echo the news presenter's speech.

Because this exercise causes you to mentally work much harder, it is, at first, very difficult.

This exercise causes your brain to do six things:

  1. To pay real attention to what you are listening to, so as to catch every word.
  2. To hold the information static, for several seconds in your short-term memory.
  3. Whilst holding the information in the memory, your brain's speech centre then recreates the sentence in your own mind.
  4. Then, assuming you are repeating aloud, your brain must physically form the words as you say them aloud to yourself.
  5. Your brain will hear the message a second time, a moment after you first heard it.
  6. Do all the above things whilst still attending to the next part of the speakers message, ie your brain must do more than one thing simultaneously (multitasking).

These six activities are happening very quickly, and it is at first a very difficult exercise. It is mentally taxing.

But don't worry! Your brain begins to acclimatise to the task, and soon it becomes more skilled and efficient. As you practice daily, the same task becomes easier. The more your practice the simpler it becomes, eventually it becomes second nature.

When you are able to do this exercise effortlessly with the television, then you should start to do it with real-life conversations. Of course, you don't say anything aloud; you repeat what they are saying only in your mind (sub-vocally).

As you sub-vocally repeat whatever you hear people say, try also to visualise and "see" what you are (both) saying.

The benefits of mental training

If you invest the effort to do this mental training exercise, you will enjoy the following nine MAJOR benefits:

  1. You will increase your capacity to mentally focus upon what the other person is actually saying, (as opposed to what you are thinking, or drifting off and no longer listening) or trying to find the flaw in the other persons argument, (which you can do later, if you still want to) .The capacity to focus your mind onto a point is a crucial skill that many people lack.

  2. You will remember five times more than what you would have remembered had you been "listening" passively. This echoing exercise causes you to hold what you have just heard in your short-term memory, long enough for you to repeat it. Therefore, the information leaves a deeper imprint on your memory and the information is thus retained.

  3. As a result of this increased retention of information, you will learn and be able to recall more information, than you would have done, had you merely passively "listened". You will become more knowledgeable on all subjects you hear about.

  4. Echoing the other persons speech will temporarily shut-down your critical thinking machinery. This temporary silencing of the "critical thinking machine", will allow you to listen without constantly negatively judging the others content, even before the person has finished making their point.

  5. Your level of comprehension and understanding will skyrocket, since you are mentally processing the information to a much greater degree than you would have, had you been merely passively listening. This deeper degree of mental involvement is called elaborative rehearsal, and it is fundamental to improved understanding, memory and recall functions.

  6. If you echo what you other people say to you, then you will improve your active vocabulary and powers of self-expression. Since, by mimicking others' speech patterns, your own vocabulary and speech patterns will evolve into something more expansive and colourful.

  7. People will be incredibly impressed and complemented by the fact that you are doing them the honour of paying strict attention to what they are saying, without needless interruption and without instant rejection or rebuttal.

  8. If you echo the other person's words, you will soon discover a whole new world of empathy opening up before you! Whenever you repeat another person's words, in your own head, then the emotional part of your brain will hear it and will naturally respond emotionally to the words being used. You feel an echo of the emotions felt by the other person, which lends you a deeper insight into how the other person must be feeling. If you, temporarily, "think the way they think" and you momentarily "feel the way they feel", then your empathy and understanding for others will ascend to the highest levels. You don't have to agree with what they say, and you may think that they are wrong, but at least you can try to understand and empathise with the people with whom you disagree.

  9. You will improve your overall intelligence. Because this training exercise is difficult, at first, you may not be able to maintain it for more than ten minutes, before your mental focus collapses under the strain of the increased workload. But if you will persevere, and if you will continue to echo whatever you hear, then the training exercise will cause you to improve your mental efficiency. Through proper training you'll get stronger, faster and more able and your brain will become more intelligent.

Summary of benefits of sub-vocally echoing

By sub-vocally echoing what others are saying, you will benefit as follows:

  1. Improved mental focus.
  2. Improved memory x5.
  3. Increased knowledge base, since you remember more of what you hear
  4. A temporarily silenced critical mind allows new, creative ideas to enter and begin to take root.
  5. Improved understanding of other people, events and things.
  6. Improved vocabulary and powers of self-expression.
  7. Demonstration of respect and social etiquette - you'll gain a good reputation as being an attentive listener.
  8. Improved empathy and emotional awareness. A higher emotional intelligence quotient.
  9. Improved overall intelligence.

This is a terrific list of world class benefits, associated to a single habit pattern.

Ten tips to improve your brain power and listening skills

Here is our suggested 10-point training programme for improving your brain power and listening skills.

  1. Make a date with yourself tonight.
  2. When you are watching a documentary or a news report, try to echo what you are listening to, for at least ten minutes.
  3. Do it when you are on your own.
  4. Don't do it in front of others as they will find it weird, and annoying.
  5. At first, be prepared to find it difficult.
  6. Stick with it. With time, it does get easier.
  7. Within a few days of practice, you will begin to find the process becoming more fluid and automatic.
  8. After you have practised out-loud for about a week, start to do it sub-vocally and start to do it with real people in real life situations.
  9. Notice how the list of benefits start to show up in your life too.
  10. Send me a note telling me of your own wonderful experiences.

Memory Training Course

Are you interested in learning more memory techniques? We offer a terrific one-day in-house Memory Training and Creative Problem Solving Course designed to improve your rapid recall and problem solving ability.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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