Repeat to remember: Memorable presentation structures (Brain Rule #5)

What makes a memorable presentation structure? The answer is repetition.
What makes a memorable presentation structure? The answer is repetition.

That repeated line is (obviously) deliberate: we’re making a point that repetition is an important technique to help the brain to store information.

Let’s step back in time, back to when we had to memorise phone numbers. The scenario is you have no way to record it (no pen, paper or smartphone!): so you repeat it, out loud probably, and you cluster the numbers together perhaps, and you repeat it again. It’s a natural technique we’ve learnt to prevent information from escaping from our fleeting working memory. We have learnt that repetition, however clumsy it might feel, helps us to recall information in the future.

Brain Rules in presentations

Do you consider this technique when putting together a presentation? Obviously, we don’t recommend a single slide with the message over and over again… but there are structural & navigational devices we can use that make it natural to include some repetition.  Such strategies put your key messages up front and easy to follow within a memorable presentation structure…

Generally, the human brain can only hold 5 pieces of (new) information for less than 30 seconds. Good brains can handle 7, other brains just 3. It’s a bit like the skill of juggling, most people will be able to manage 3, but only a true master can juggle 7! So consider the information you need your audience to remember, and cluster that information to reinforce your point.

Top tip:

A memorable presentation structure could involve dividing your content to fall within 3 key messages. These 3 messages would be stated early on in the presentation, with each one used as a divider slide. The dividers would then be repeated for each key message, with the relevant section highlighted. And we’d also use a summary slide to repeat all 3 key messages at the end.

At first this might feel like it won’t “flow”, but you don’t need to vocally repeat the other key messages. They’ll be seen. And we guarantee that using dividers in this way will enable your audience to remember more of your information. For your audience it will feel structured, organised, and clear.

Trust us: you’ll get brownie points, and you’ll have a memorable presentation structure.