Getting participants in Memory Class is easier than in Memory Competitions

Hi everyone,
Has a memory competition organizer, I have noted how much more easy it is to get people to participate in memory classes when compared to memory competitions.

Now, since I advertise for preparation classes to memory competitions, I often get an audience totally uninterested in the prospect of memorize long strings of digits as a fun hobby. They don’t want to waste their energy on useless stuff, but they still think there is a way to improve while learning things that really matters along the way. So, how do you weed them out when they first reach out ? How do you identify them ahead so you can stop them from wasting a seat at the memory competition preparation class and also save them from wasting their time in the class?

Here is what I think should be done to help with that. When they will contact me about the memory class, here is what I’ll be telling them. Please let me know what you think:


Thanks for your inquiry. When people ask me for a memory course, I feel unsure whether or not I have what they want.

Most people who seek to take part in a course are interested in knowledge on a particular subject or they want a certificate showing that they have achieved a certain expertise on the topic from a recognized institution or a prestigious guru.

Also, people who seek to take part in a class are often non-competitive. They want what having a good memory has to offer, similar to the benefits of having an I phone and not a good memory for its own sake. In other words, they are thinking of exploiting the full extent of their memory, and success in memory competitions is simply not part of what they consider a worthy benefit.

If I were to tell you that you need success in a competing memory setting in order to show your knowledge about memory, more than you need to complete anybody’s memory class or program, how would you feel about that?

IMO, memory is power and if you can demonstrate high level of memory power, then you know about it.

Because people are asking for class believing that it is the way to improve their memories (when in fact, they need to improve their memory competition results ) expensive memory classes (that never test your raw memory power as memory competitions do) spring up, but to me, this is a buyer beware situation.

If you are going to achieve the high level of success that I think you can achieve, well it is simply not going to happen with such classes, in my opinion.

So may I inform you a bit more about what you have to gain from seeking success in memory competitions? But before I start, I would like to ask if you think my approach to learning more about memory may suit you fine.

When people are definitely uninterested in seeking success in a competitive setting, I kind of know to save both of us some time by putting a prompt end to our conversation.

Memory competitions are what brought back the knowledge and practice of memory techniques, not schools or classes. I hope that my comments here will help you make the right decision as to what you wish to do next as you consider your prospects for improving your memory.

In many ways, I feel that memory training is another way to discuss success and power training. So when people feel interested in memory training, I want them to be made aware of what I think goes along with it, so we are on the same page.

Also, it should be mentioned that whatever specific subject you may have that lead you to have an interest in memory classes is a subject that can and should be used for your competitive memory training, so by accepting the prospects of participating in and training for a memory competition, you are certainly not going to forget about what you wished to learn in the first place.

All the best,

Simon Luisi

PS. Have you tried the app, dueling n back?
It’s great and when you reach level 4, you get to feel much better about your memory’s ability.

Sorry, it isn’t exactly what you are asking for, Simon. But I’d like to say that I had the same problem for quite a long time. I was mainly interested in learning subjects like mathematics, physics, biology, communication and history. Of course I also considered training for memory competitions and even participated once. But it quickly became boring to put the same objects to the same locations again and again without any deeper meaning. My motivation regarding competition faded away.

Fortunately I found a solution. When reading about interesting facts or ideas that I want to remember, I try to make them into memorable pictures. Then I link this images together to form a kind of journey, sometimes adding environment like rooms, places or special buildings in order to structure them. The crucial point: I also use this journeys for memory sports. So when training for competitional things, at the same time I’m able to repeat the images for the subjects that I want to remember, burning them into memory.


That’s a great reply! So, you found something you didn’t like about memory competitions: they were boring, perhaps like a job or work.

My dad says that when an activity looks like fun, then he will consider doing it. If it looks like work, he won’t do it, and his memory is quite good. So, the challenge is how to approach the competition without thinking of it as a boring activity. You seem to have found a great way to enhance your experience by having more and new interesting images onto your journeys. Well done.

You also have managed to increase your motivation to do the job by mixing your interest in knowing well some subjects and using the repetitions of memory competitions to ensure your favorite topics are and stay fresh in your mind. You have made memory competitions fill a need, unrelated to the competition itself, so regardless whether you win first place or finish last, you are still a winner. That’s great. The same kind of approach does also keep me interested in competing. I just created an image for Rat Nellie this morning (Nellie Bly) 0425. I hope it will work, and I’m glad I learned about this inspiring historical figure.

But I think there are lots of people out there who are opposed to the idea of competing in a memory competition for themselves. They see this attempt at dominating others through a demonstration of great memory skill as absurd, egoistical or insanely ambitious. They don’t see a value in aiming high in the field; all that matters is that they be reasonably satisfied with their own skill.

But by listening to the best in the field of memorization, aiming high, competing, thinking like an athlete are all things to which they believe their memories positively responds to and is vital in gaining the kind of awesome skills they have.

So, when people have developed the habit of spitting on the tools that help you improve, do you want to still do something for them and work with them to help them improve anyway or are you doing them a better favor by walking away from them after explaining to them why you can’t help them?

By reading I have the impression that the people joining the classes think it would be different, maybe they think that the course for a memory championship would be more powerful and improve their memory better than a default memory class.

If I was uninformed about the subject I would assume(maybe they do) that the people in championships really evolved an exceptional general memory as opposed to extensively training a technique only to remember numbers or cards.
Based on that the solution can be making it very clear that the course is specifically made only to train tasks used in championships up to competition performance standards and mentioning what the tasks are, maybe also somehow clearing misconceptions that training to a memory competition will make you never forget where you placed the car keys, maybe this can be made in form of a list of what the class will and will not teach.

Quite frankly, I think there are quite a few roads that lead to Rome but they aren’t all the same. Some are better than others. I think that if you go to a memory championship preparation class where their only objective is to get you to memorize long series of digits to try and win the competition and if they stay focused on that and nothing else, you certainly could get someone like zoomy to attend that class but I think it won’t attract too many people.

My experience with memory training has made what I think is an athlete out of me, and regardless of what athletic endeavor one is engaged in as an athlete, there are significant benefits in adopting the mindset of an athlete. I can’t remember exactly when was the last time I lost my keys, but it must be over 10 years ago for sure. See, I tie my keys to my pants with a thread. I use a system that prevents me from losing them. Mnemonics tend to use systems to win, so I would really be surprised to hear that top memory athletes often lose their keys.

I guess that my issue is with those people who come to memory competition obsessing about themselves, or their own appearance in certain settings where they may appear forgetful to others. They want their boss to think well of them if you see what I mean. Bit by becoming a memory athlete, they might end up being so competitive that they would stop caring what their boss thinks because they will start thinking they can outperform their boss. And the idea of starting to think this way is simply too ambitious for them; they want to aim low. And so they are basically saying they want to do battle to gain memory power but are only ready to use one harm in this battle. I understand that if they have lots of money and if you need that and if they are willing to pay, you still help them. LOL. But in general I think it is best to smile and walk away from them; the students of a top mnemonic should be willing to be ambitious, in my opinion.

Just a question,

In 2018, what concrete advantages do you believe we (as mnemonics practicioners) have in everyday- and/or business life when compared to non-practicioners?

I cant understand what you mean, I thought the problem was people who are not ambitious filling up a sit that could be used by one that is, in this case it would be needed to filter them.
If the participants cannot be filtered because that would make too few of them I think it is matter of balancing the class so the ambitious ones are not hold back by the less ambitious/competitive.

Hi Mayarra,

Thanks fir chipping in. If I spoke of self-confidence, to reply to your question, would I be wrong because self-confidence isn’t concrete? Is human memory a concrete thing? By adding that “concrete” word in your question, you make it hard for me to see what you would like for an answer.


To use an analogy, if you try and attract people to a sprinting class, as a one hundred meter dash, and many people come and when you start explaining to them how best to run fast, you discover that some of them will not swing their arms along side as they run; they keep their arms straight down. Now you suggest to them that they should swing their arms and measure just how much they improve that way. But no, that is not something they are willing to do. Then you try and tell them to take big breaths as they run, but that too is not something they are willing to do. But they are still listening to you hoping that you will reveal to them something that will make them run faster. So, to me the problem is what do you do then? I suggest to filter them out quickly and if that means no one comes to your memory class well, at least you can find other really useful things to do.

I’m starting to think that the best way to attract people to memory class would be to target these classes as success and ambition classes. I’m starting to actually believe that this is really what memory is all about. Lots of people will tell you that understanding is key to success, and not memory. But to be good with memorizing, you have to understand how it works and so the problem becomes what comes first, understanding or memory? If you do recall but do not understand what it means, you fail. If you understand it but can’t remember what it was, you still fail.

Simon, I think what M meant by concrete advantage is what can be observed and not necessarily tangible, so depending on how it’s used, self confidence may or may not be included. There are in summary however, the ability to recall information people will like to remember but they forget; names and faces, school, interesting books, some facts,etc.

But coming to your question, I think the issue is a misunderstanding between you and your customers. Like you said, they attend memory classes not the memory competition,why? That’s a longer discussion will help but not actually solve the problem.
Solution: Let it be clear that your classes are for MEMORY COMPETITION TRAINING with emphasis on memory competition, and not MEMORY TRAINING, with emphasis on memory. As you know they are two related but different things, which seems to confuse your customers.
Being interested in mnemonics does not mean being interested in memory competition, just like being interested in a built body does not mean being interested in gymnastics.
Make it clear what your classes are for so as to attract the right audience.