In this section
Improve Your Memory for Sales Success
What is Memory?
Your memory is composed of millions of complicated neural connections in your brain. The ability of your mind to retain past experiences in a highly organised manner gives you the potential to learn and create.
Your experiences are the stepping stones to greater accomplishments and at the same time your guides and protects from danger.
Unless you have an illness or handicap, a poor memory is often attributed to lack of attention or concentration, insufficient listening skills, and other inherent bad habits; however, it can be honed and developed using the right methods.
Many people believe that their memory gets worse as they get older. This is true only for those who do not use, or exercise, their memory properly. Memory is like a muscle - the more it is used, the better it gets. The more it is neglected, the worse it gets. However, people increasing in age can overcome this dilemma and can even further improve their memory by continuing their education, by refining their minds, by keeping themselves open to new experiences, and by keeping their imagination working.
Memorization or retention of data operates by loading images, sounds, taste, smell, and sensation (touch) in a very organised and meaningful combination in our brain. There are three types of memory; Sensory Memory, Short Term Memory, Long Term Memory.
Sensory Memory is where temporary information is briefly recorded. Images such as a picture in a magazine and the design on your customer's clothing are momentarily stored in the sensory memory. Sensory Memory is not stored unless you pay attention to the stimulus.
Short-term Memory, characterised by 20 to 30 seconds of retention, involves a limited amount of information and is necessary for traditional processing of experiences and ordinary data gathering. Most of the information temporarily stored in the Short Term Memory is lost unless it is rehearsed.
Long-term Memory involves consolidation and organization of complex knowledge and information for further reference and other cognitive (mental) processing such as the application of learning or information into meaningful experiences. Studies suggest that information, once in the Long Term Memory, cannot be forgotten.
Short-Term and Long-Term memories are concerned with how you continually organise data that are stored in your brain. In short, human memory is like a vast and complicated yet organised library.
Sharp Memory Factors
If someone was to read a list of words to you, it's most unlikely that you will remember all the words in the list. You'll be able to recall most of the words at the beginning, some in the middle, and a few at the end. These effects are known as primacy (words at the beginning) and recency (words at the end).
The only way that a normal person can effectively recall all of the words in the list, is if he applies a mnemonic technique to help him remember. You'll also find that it's easier to recall a word if it's repeated several times in the list, or if it's related to the other words in any way, or if it stands out among the other words (for example, the word "ruby" will stand out from a list of vegetables).
Contrary to popular belief, being smart is not synonymous with having a good memory or good retention. Memory can be especially important in interviews, for retaining important information about a company, and its market - see our guide on research to do before an interview.
You don't have to force yourself to study and understand more in order to improve your memory; the key is actually in your lifestyle, your attitude, your diet, and your habits. On the topic of habits, here's our great habits for successful sales people.
You Are What You Eat
Your brain is the greediest organ in your body, and it requires a very specific type of nutrition from your diet. It shouldn't be surprising then that your diet affects how your brain performs, and it performs well with a steady supply of glucose.
Before you go out of your house in the morning, it would be great if you can give your brain the fuel it needs by eating a hearty breakfast.
For lunch, a salad packed full of antioxidants, including beta-carotene and vitamins C and E.
For dinner a combination of proteins and carbohydrates.
This combination of foodstuffs should help keep your brain in tip-top condition by helping to reduce damaging free radicals (damaging molecules). As you grow older, your brain has lesser capacity to defend itself from daily threats like free radicals, inflammation, and oxidation.
Free radicals are like cavities to your teeth; they slowly build up if they're not cleaned out. As the brain cells grow older, they sometimes stop communicating with each other. As an effect, it slows down essential processes like thinking, short-term memory retrieval, and regenerating new cells. Therefore, anti-oxidants are essential to maintaining not only good health but a good memory as well. Good sources of anti-oxidants are:
- Vitamin A: and beta-carotene: Carrots, spinach, melons, winter squash
- Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, broccoli, strawberries, tomatoes
- Vitamin E: Nuts, seeds, vegetable oil, wheat germ
Studies show that fatty food that causes atherosclerosis (clogging of arteries) are also the same type of food that disrupts neural activities. Cut back on the fat and replace it with foods rich in anti-oxidants. Nothing will replace a well-balanced meal, but to make sure that your body doesn't lack any of its nutritional needs, it would be a good idea to take food supplements. As the name implies, they're supplements, and not replacements.
Scientific research also indicates that eating fish can indeed sharpen your memory. Most fish fat contains the polyunsaturated fatty acid DHA, which performs a significant part in the brain development of young children. Tests show that kids who consume adequate foods containing DHA score better on IQ tests than those who take lesser amounts of DHA. Fish also contains omega-3 fatty acids which open up new communication centres in the brain's neurons.
Another significant finding suggests that smoking can affect the ability of the brain to process information properly. Chain smokers have higher risks of impairing their visual and verbal memories.
Caffeine and alcohol cause anxiety and nervousness. This may hamper information from properly entering your mind because memory works best when you are relaxed and focused.
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