Newsletter: March, 1997

by Patrick Magee, author of Brain Dancing

"What we discovered was that the way people responded emotionally to PC's was more important than what the computer actually did." --Don Estridge, who played a key role in the creation and launch of the original IBM PC in 1981

Summary of this issue:

  1. Brain Dancing Coach Trial Version now available For Free Download
  2. Speech Memorization Strategy
  3. Air Quality and Mental Clarity (no longer available)
  4. Creativity and Water: Is there a connection?
  5. Cool Products: Juiceman Juicer, Neurofeedback technology
  6. Marketing Message

Brain Dancing Coach Trial Version Now Available  
The Brain Dancing Coach (BDC) is new software that makes it practical to apply some of the ideas discussed in the book, Brain Dancing. It does this by structuring activities (breathing, stretching and mind development) so as to minimize the number of decisions you must make. Decisions such as what to do, when to do it, and for how long. This trial version contains a few of the stretching, breathing and mental muscle exercises included in the registered version. You can also define custom Actions to meet your particular needs.

There are so many demands on our attention when doing knowledge intensive work that it is sometimes difficult to remember to take care of ourselves by taking short breaks throughout the day. When we do remember to take a break, it can be difficult, at least initially, to remember exactly how to structure the time for optimum benefit. Wouldn't it be great to have a coach available on demand to walk you through some carefully timed stretching and breathing exercises so that the only decision you need to make is to begin?

That's what the Brain Dancing Coach is all about, and you are welcome to use the trial version for 30 days free of charge.

Effective Speech Preparation: The "Rapid Talk-Through" Memorization Strategy  
Technical skills will get your foot in the door. But making big money usually requires effective public speaking skills. --Professor William Sailors, Western Washington University

Effective public speaking is a result of effective preparation, but what is the most effective way to prepare? There is a long term and a short term side to this issue. Long term, skill refinement is a major factor, and Toastmasters International (800-993-7732) does a great job of chunking down the process of developing public speaking skills. When you join one of the 8,000+ Toastmasters clubs worldwide, each of your first 10 speeches focuses on a different aspect of an effective speech: vocal variety, gestures, word dynamics, etc. A significant side benefit that comes from participation in Toastmasters is being around a team of proactive people every week. United by a common goal of self-development, and guided by the carefully planned structure provided by the Toastmasters organization, each meeting can be a magical experience. If this sounds like a commercial, it is. I am extremely grateful for the impact Toastmasters has had on my life.

That covers the long term aspect of effective preparation. For the immediate speech, the sooner you decide on a topic and begin idea collection sheets, the more time your subconscious will have to gather related ideas (I also use idea collection sheets to gather potential speech topics.) While doing practice deliveries of my "Working Smarter" keynote speech, I kept hitting spots where I'd forget what comes next.

On the way to the meeting, the thought came to me to say the main ideas in rapid succession. I basically said the first sentence of each paragraph, or a part of it--just enough for my mind to latch onto the concept--and then quickly moved on to the next "ideagram", or set of ideas.

When you listen to an album or CD, does your mind anticipate the next song just as one song is finishing? The memorization strategy I applied uses the same principle: linking/association.

The mind links things together that happen close together.

By saying the core ideas in rapid succession, so that my mind was thinking of them in close proximity, I linked them together like songs on an album. When delivering the speech, as I finished one topic, my mind began to anticipate, or "play" the next topic. I must also add that this rapid rehearsal took a lot of effort, especially while driving down the freeway. It worked, however: I recalled the speech perfectly without any notes, even though an hour passed before I was called up to speak!

I must qualify this by stating that several chunks of the speech had been committed to long term memory prior to writing this speech. What was missing was a way to link them all together, so that I remembered which chunk came next. And when I say "perfectly", I mean that my subconscious improvised successfully as I addressed each section of the speech.

Reading a speech does almost nothing to help me memorize it. What helps is practicing "remembering". Initially, this means dividing the speech into 1 or 2 minute chunks. Then I do the following for each chunk:

  1. review my notes for a few moments
  2. deliver this portion of the speech from memory
  3. refer to my notes to see if anything was left out in the delivery
  4. redeliver the entire 1-2 minute chunk from memory again

This process is repeated a few times or until I deliver the segment successfully. Time is allocated to each chunk so as to ensure that I can do at least one pass through all parts of the speech during each review session.

This leads to the "multiple-pass" strategy. Tony Buzan teaches that an effective method for transferring ideas from short term to long term memory (the place where your social security # is stored), is to use periodic reviews. With this in mind, what I try to do is deliver the first practice run as soon as possible, even if it is a very rough draft. This gives my subconscious time to incubate the delivery process.

"We learn to swim in Winter, and to skate in summer," taught William James. Once given a task to perform, the subconscious will refine its action guidance mechanisms while we are doing other things, so as to improve performance next time. I schedule as many review passes as possible as the speech deadline approaches, and separate each delivery with a totally unrelated activity, even if the diversion lasts only 10 minutes. The oscillation pattern helps transfer the material to long term memory and fully employs subconscious momentum building incubation processes.

I am not advocating word for word memorization, which introduces the faith element. In most cases, I prefer delivering speeches dynamically, trusting that whatever must happen to make the speech a success will happen; trusting that my subconscious will bring forth whatever resources are necessary. Building trust in this process may take some trial and error, but plowing through these initial difficulties is a cheap price to pay for not being tied to your notes for the rest of your speaking career!

Another powerful memorization strategy that works occasionally is to memorize a series of emotions. When you review a speech, stop and think about the emotions stirred up by each point. If you can remember that emotion, the words will usually flow from you like water from a fountain. Identify a word or three that will trigger this emotion, and then use these words to do your "rapid talk-through".

To summarize the key points made on memorizing a speech:

  1. "Practice remembering" your speech, as opposed to reading it from a script. Break the speech into small chunks for your initial rehearsals from memory.
  2. Once the chunks are fairly well practiced, do a few rehearsals in "compressed time" to help your mind link the ideas together into a flow--a "mental album".
  3. Trust your subconscious to dynamically respond to the moment for the delivery of each chunk.
  4. When speaking about a topic you feel strongly about, try memorizing a series of emotions.

Air Quality and Mental Clarity

Article no longer available

Creativity and Water  
Consider the following facts relating to the subject of creativity:
  1. We get ideas when we take showers, sit in hot tubs, ride on boats, run our hands through water at the beach, or just go for a swim.
  2. Yoshiro NakaMats, holder of over 2200 patents, and inventor of the floppy disk, compact disk and digital watch, gets his "best ideas" while in his "creative swimming" room.
  3. Renowned creativity consultant Roger Von Oech is an avid swimmer.

A couple weeks ago, I was in the early stages of formulating a connection between water and creativity. Coincidentally, while updating the links in the online bibliography to Brain Dancing, I revisited Marilyn Ferguson's website and noticed a few articles on this very subject.

I used to think that the "ideas while showering" phenomenon was due primarily to the fact that our thinking is state bound and compartmentalized. Check out these articles and judge for yourself. They emphasize that water has an amazing ability to store and transfer information.

Water conducts electricity; can it conduct thought waves?

Cool Products

Kitchen Timer  
Component Design (503-297-5944) produces a Programmable Digital Timer & Clock (Time Check, Model PT1A) that is available from kitchen supply stores for about $21. I have been increasing my efforts to become an effective meditator, and having this timer has made it much easier to limit my meditation time. When I meditate, I don't want to be thinking about time. This timer allows me to forget about time for 5-10 minutes. I just press 2 buttons to start the timer, and it makes no noise given that it is watch battery powered. I place it under a blanket to muffle the alarm so that it doesn't startle me when it goes off. It has 4 programmable time settings, and is available from kitchen supply stores. If unable to locate one at a kitchen supply store near you, call the Complete Cook in Bellevue, Washington at (425) 746-9201. Note that they do charge quite a bit for shipping.

Juiceman Juicer  
"If you have a car, sell it and buy a juicer", writes Anhony Robbins in Chapter 11 of his bestselling book, Unlimited Power. Eight years ago, this is the sentence that launched me into juicing, or using a juice extractor to separate the juices from fresh produce. Most of the energy chapter in Brain Dancnig describes my juicing strategies in detail. Nothing has impacted my mental clarity and energy level as much as juicing, and the information Jay Kordach (the Juiceman) provides played a key role in the process. They have published some interesting Juicing recipes. Brain Dancing would not have been written if it wasn't for juicing. Jay Kordach's audiotapes are essential for understanding the benefits of juicing. The Juiceman II juicer is one of the best you can buy.

Neurofeedback Technology  
Neurofeedback technology is opening the doors to improved brain wave control. Want to pop the hood to your brain and observe the brain waves you are generating? Check out Northwest Neurofeedback to learn more about how this technology helps you "learn to choose your brainwaves". You sit in a comfortable chair with some sensors attached to your head, and watch a "pacman" like computer game. The therapist asks you to think relaxing thoughts, and when your brain waves reflect relaxing thought patterns, the pacman on the screen begins to gobble up the little dots. This creates a feedback loop to your subconscious mind and can, in some cases, literally "rewire" your thinking processes. If you decide to pursue this, make sure you do so under the guidance of a highly qualified practitioner such as Saranel Binyon. It will be very exciting to see how this technology evolves in the years ahead.

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