Most Important Graph in the World

This is a book I came across written by Tony Buzan, J. Goddard, and J. Casteneda. Buzan introduced mind mapping to the world. He is also known as a memory master. The Most Important Graph in the World summarizes several techniques to help with recall. For teachers, presenters, and other speakers, these techniques are essential to ensure that content is retained by audiences, classes, and employees.

Below is a sketch note I created to help me remember the key learning points of Buzan’s book. I drew this in my pocket notebook and then edited it using Procreate.

Primacy

You will remember things at the beginning of a learning period. As a presenter, skip the orientation and begin with the presentation.

Recency

You will remember the most recent things at the end of a learning period. End with a call-to-action.

Von Restorff Effect

You will remember anything that stands out. In my sketch note for this book, I used these words as an example: apple, cherry, orange, car banana. Your learners will be more likely to remember unique elements or information.

Interest

Focus attention to form strong associations. From the perspective of presenters, this is a significant challenge because of the second screens – our phones – we all carry. If any slowness or pauses occur during a presentation, learners are likely to check their phones or otherwise tune out. I recently attended a virtual presentation where the presenter asked, “On a scale of 1-10, how much will you pay attention to this webinar?”

Associations

Your brain is hardwired to make connections. You can see this exemplified in the rule of three: three bears, three pigs, came/saw/conquered. Make three key points that are related.

Understanding

Our brains naturally find patterns. Present information in an organized way so that learners can find patterns.

Meaning

Connecting information with existing knowledge makes it more memorable. For example, what is the order of the planets in our solar system? One way is to remember the sentence, “My Very Excellent Mother Just Sent Us Nachos.” The first letter of each word corresponds to the first letter of the name of each planet: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

Another example is how to remember the value of pi. Most of us know 3.14, but pi is a unique number that never repeats a pattern. The value of pi to seven decimal places is 3.1415926. An easy way to recite number is to remember, “May I have a large container of coffee?” The number of letters in each word represents a number in pi.

Story

In thinking about The Most Important Graph in the World, I realized that story provides a way to combine all of the elements depicted on the chart in the sketch note.

One way to incorporate all of these elements is to tell a story. Learners naturally engage (interest) with a well-structured story. Stories provide an easy way to provide meaning that learners will be able to easily recall. Details in a story help with primacy and recency. An unexpected complication, crisis, or response (Von Restorff) will help learners remember information. Including the rule of three (associations) lets learners identify patterns (understanding).

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