Sticky like Velcro? Hooks to help your audience remember your presentations!

Stickonomics tip #2







Please comment below after you watch the video. I would like to hear from you so I know what problems you see with presentations that I can help solve in the future!

What follows is the transcript from the video. That is for Google and Bing. Not for you. Unless you are using Netscape Navigator. If you are, you probably don’t see the video. So go ahead and read!

Welcome to the second issue of Stickonomics! Hi, My name is Sam Thatte. I work with small businesses on developing their presentation skills. You can find me at
I look forward to presenting you with these sticky tips several times a week. What is Stickonomics? Stickonomics is “Sticky presentation tips that improve your economics”.

Stickonomics tip #2 The Velcro Theory.

What is the velcro theory of memory? The answer lies within the nature of our memories. Many of us have a sense that remembering something is a bit like storing it in a file cabinet so that you can retrieve it when needed. The surprising thing is that there may be completely different filing cabinets for different kinds of memories. To test this for yourself, lets take this quick exercise created by David Rubin, a cognitive psychologist at Duke

Now I am going to show you some images and ask you to remember some concepts and ideas. Spend a few seconds lingering on each one — don’t rush through them. You’ll notice that it feels different to remember different kinds of things: Ready? Let’s start, shall we?
• Think of the capital of New Zealand
• Now remember the song “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson
• Can you picture Albert Einstein?
• What did you do last summer?
• Visualize what “Authentic” means to you.

You may have felt like some of the things you spent time thinking about were easy to remember. Other things where you lacked a connection or a hook were more difficult. And that is how our minds work when it comes to memory.

Remembering the capital of New Zealand is an abstract exercise. You will not be able to conjure up a memory or even a mild connection unless, you happen to have some association with New Zealand or its capital city,
• When you think about “Billie Jean” you may hear Michael Jackson’s voice and see him dance on the backlit sidewalk.
• No doubt the Albert Einstein memory conjured a visual image of that famous man. Or if you followed his life closer than most, you would have remembered this famous picture. Upon being prodded to smile for the camera for what seemed like the millionth time, he gave the photographer a good look at his tongue instead of just a smile!
• Remembering your summer might have evoked a host of memories — smells, sounds, sights. You might even have felt yourself thinking of the heat, the natural beauty you saw when you went hiking or how much
fun the kids had jumping into the lake!
• The visualization of “Authentic” may have been harder to summon up. You probably have no set idea to pluck from memory. Abstract terms work much better when they are given a reference point. For example, this graphic makes much more sense when you give it a reference point of authenticity, How often do you in real life see a little girl coloring pictures with a completely white background around her? Probably never. The
same girl looks perfectly natural when you add a background of a little girl’s room.

So to summarize David Rubin’s point, memory is not like a single file cabinet. It is more like Velcro, a material with thousands of tiny hooks on one side and thousands of tiny loops on the other. Your brain hosts a truly staggering number of loops. The more hooks an idea has, the better it will cling to memory. So use ideas that have hooks and stay away from ideas that are too abstract. We are your audience and we really want to understand your idea!

Thanks for watching, and for more tips and pointers on presentations, please visit my website at

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