Remembering to remember

Remembering to remember is an essential skill to have and develop as it influences our ability to nurture relationships. It is always good to remember, and even better to be thoughtful.

In my previous article, I focussed on the importance of listening whilst having a conversation. I inferred that by listening properly, you learn and you should also be remembering what you have been told. Personally, I like to seek ways to help or share information with someone following a conversation or meeting in some way or form, so listening and remembering are important.

It does not take much effort to remember and be thoughtful. However, trying to remember everything you hear is not straightforward. The trick is activating your prospective memory.

As I am getting older, my memory seems to be getting worse. I find it hard to remember what I did last week, let alone what I did six months ago. I do not believe that it is purely aged related, but symptomatic of the excessive amount of data and simulation our brains are subjected to on a daily basis. Generally speaking, and I am sure you will all agree, we are completely inundated with so much unnecessary information, both in the written word and visually (think the internet, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and yes my posts on LinkedIn?!). Sure, information and knowledge are great, and it keeps us informed (well most of us). However, the strain on our brain, means that so much that is actually important to our lives, and fundamentally useful, falls away or simply gets forgotten. This can have a negative impact.

So couple that with trying to remember what you hear from friends and from meeting people, how are you to remember what people share with you?

There is not much to it. Write it down. Obvious, right? Sure, but when was the last time you did it. If you don’t have a pen and pad with you, then type it to yourself as soon as you can afterwards. I find it useful to briefly summarise the conversation (see, listening is important) and then note how I can help and some of the key things I learnt.

I believe that there is a lot to be said for remembering what people share with you, and then actually showing them what you remember either in a subsequent conversation or through a thoughtful action. The impact on that person is positive, and far more than any of us actually realise. It does not have to be contrived, and can be done naturally. In my opinion, people like to know that they have been thought of, and you have actually listened and remembered what they told you previously.

I recently read that it is more important for us to live a life remembered. So considering that there are so many unnecessary distraction nowadays that don’t help, it is worth taking a little bit of time to be the kind of person who remembers to remember.

Thanks for reading.


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