An overabundance of incoming information leads to the fact that only a small part is stored in the memory. It’s okay if you forget the plot of a movie or the lyrics of a song, but what about lectures that don’t stick in your head at all? Storytelling techniques can help, which help develop memory, create lasting connections and quickly recall memories.
What is Storytelling
Storytelling is the ability to tell stories. Not to retell an existing work, but to create your own: with characters, plot, intrigue, and denouement. A popular form of entertaining storytelling is the game where people roll a die with objects drawn on its sides and continue the story one after another, using the dropped object for the plot.
There are two categories of people who are taught it intentionally:
- Preschool and elementary school-aged children (to them, storytelling helps them relax, develop speech skills, and learn to come up with new things quickly);
- Managers who work with people (having mastered storytelling they can quickly and very skillfully construct any speech they want to listen to).
But storytelling is useful for everyone whose life is connected with any kind of creative work or communication with people: it stimulates imagination, develops fantasy, and helps find the right words quicker. By the way, if you’re a student, it is also important to use this technique. For example, you can use McEssay for your assignment but when you need to present it, you should know some special tips.
How storytelling techniques can help with learning
It is impossible to improve the ability to memorize information in adulthood because of the peculiarities of physiology. But mastering techniques that will help create unusual and vivid associations for boring material is possible at any age. During studies, this is especially relevant: sessions once every six months, a huge number of lectures and seminars – it is difficult to remember such an amount of information.
To remember the text for a long time, you can either connect it with some vivid visual or emotional image or say it several times (at least mentally). This is where storytelling comes in handy. And if it is combined with mnemotechnics, it can work wonders.
How it works:
- a composed short story or a presented picture mentioning important information will create a vivid associative image;
- repeating the story several times will help you remember the text;
- seeing (or saying) the keywords for the image, you will easily remember the whole story – along with the information that has been inserted for memorization.
You can use abbreviations, words consonant with the terms, indirectly related images, ciphering by numbers – anything that suits you and seems convenient. And the more absurd and unusual the story, the better it will be remembered.
Also – just no one! – Key images from the stories will be great cheat sheets, which will not see a trick any teacher. True, you probably won’t need them: you’ll remember everything perfectly well without their help. But with such cheat sheets you can, for example, quickly repeat the material, so they won’t be superfluous either.
At first, it will be hard to come up with associations (especially if you are studying a technical specialty), but with time the experience will come, and the skills of storytelling will spread to other areas of life.
Storytelling by pictures (or words)
A good option for those who are just starting to incorporate storytelling into their studies and aren’t sure they can make up stories on their own. It will help you remember a lot of terms or processes – especially in the sciences and humanities. The technique is very simple:
- Anyway, you can pick up a random set of objects: objects, people, animals, actions, weather. These can be cubes or cards with pictures, stickers with a word written on them (you can even write your simple program that will show a random word from the loaded dictionary).
- Dilute the resulting set with the desired terms or sequence of actions: just the same, cards or notes, so you can mix it up.
- After that, we randomly pull out all the cards in order, linking them together into a single story.
- For better recall, it is better to write out all the keywords separately. Immediately after the story ends, look at the resulting list and play the text again. It is better to tell it at least once aloud or write it down. In the future, to remember the content, it will be enough just to see the images from which the story was composed.
Make associations between a term and another object. For example, by consonance or appearance. A new word picked up instead of a scientific term will easily fit into the story.
A great option if you need to memorize a large text without complicated paragraphs. Add more expression, reword sentences to a different style, read the resulting text aloud a couple of times. I assure you, it will stick in your memory much stronger than a boring and dry text of a lecture!
Dialogue with multiple explanations
It can be conducted as with classmates, and with yourself. If you’ve had a philosophy class before, you’ve seen treatises that are built in the form of a dialogue: one participant supposedly asked questions, asked for clarifications and different formulations, while the other patiently answered everything in different words, looking at the situation from different angles. Try to come up with simple definitions for complex things that will be laid out so thoroughly that even a schoolboy will understand them. Tell them in simple (not scientific) words, let your classmates or family listen. They can ask useful clarifying questions.
If you are working alone, self-prepared cards can help. On identical sheets, write down any questions you can think of: “What is this?”, “What does it lead to?”, “How did you learn about it?”, “What does it imply?”, “Why is it needed?”, “Why does it exist?” While reading, periodically pulls out a random card and answer a question to explain some phenomena and terms to yourself.
This technique is not set up for visual images, but for a full understanding of the question to avoid rote learning.
Storytelling by initial letters
Especially if you know the terms or definitions but have trouble remembering their order (or if you need to memorize a complex phrase verbatim).
- List the terms in order.
- Write out the first letters of each word.
- Make any phrase that you can visualize well out of words that begin with the same letters in the same order. Say it several times.
- As I said before, the more unusual the phrase, the better it will be remembered. It is good if it contains something on the subject – that way you won’t forget what it refers to.
Phrase for remembering numbers.
This combines storytelling and mnemonics. The technique is to create a strong association of each of the 10 numbers with letters. At the end of the article, you can download a helpful tutorial – there is a traditional table of mnemonic techniques for matching numbers and letters. However, you can also make your own “number-letter” pairs, which will be easier for you to remember. For example, by the first letters of words that stand for numbers (0 – n, 1 – o, 3 – t, and so on).
You can use this method only when you accurately and correctly remember the connection between letters and numbers. When you have memorized it, the rest is done as in the previous technique.
Recording information in verse form.
This is not exactly about storytelling, but this technique is good for memorizing even the most obscure (and often useless) material. It is no coincidence that modern advertising has so many not very artistic, but rhythmic and rhyming texts. The most famous rhymes pass from generation to generation and help many students and pupils. Rhyming lines, even those laden with terms and complicated words, are better remembered than prose ones.
There is no point in fitting lectures to the perfect verse size – if you rhyme at least verbs at the end of lines, it will already be much easier to remember the text.
Are there any other ways?
In general, any method of conveying the necessary information is fine, as long as it is memorable to you. The main thing is that it should be impressive enough and create a good and vivid visual image. Storytelling is not about retelling and boring text, but about getting bright emotions through the transfer of simple information. Draw history comics with country-balls or coats of arms as the main characters; associate memes with consonant terms from physics; imagine how characters from your favorite TV series would behave if they were chemical elements. Any strange and colorful association will help you remember serious and difficult material.
Depending on the subject, several different techniques may be combined. For example, in biology disciplines, you may need to retell a large volume of text, memorize the order of terms, and relate to extraneous characters. Mathematics or astrophysics are complex definitions and long numbers that need to be memorized by heart. And on reactions in organic chemistry, you can write a short melodrama for a page and a half that will never leave your head.