Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Warning: Information overload, memory full

While we’re on the subject of brains ... are your employees running out of brian space?

It’s a good chance they are.

Scientific research now shows we’re not forgetful, we physically just can’t store it all in our brains.

The great people at Incentive Intelligence bring a recent MSNBC article to light about how our ability to retain information is shrinking.

It’s been previously thought that we can hold seven things in our short term “working” memory, but that figure is now thought to be closer to four.

The new research explains why we break up phone numbers into three and four number strings and why it’s easier to remember either the first or last half, not the full string.

Our working memory may be smaller when you factor in everything else we have on our minds at any given time - paying the phone bill, remembering the doctor’s appointment you have tomorrow, responding to that email you just opened back at your computer.

Keep these new research findings in mind the next time you plan a training presentation, or come up with goals and objectives for an employee reward program. Your audience only has a set amount of space to store the information you tell them.

Remember - keep it simple. The more information you give, the more they will forget. Keep it short and be repetitive. You may sound like a song on loop, but the more you repeat yourself, the better your audience will remember the information you’re delivering.

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