Using Large Convention Halls for Memorizing Foreign Language Vocabulary

Memory PalaceDear Memorizers,

I’m back in Berlin for one day after a great time at the Frankfurt Musikmesse.

But for all the time I spent looking at – mostly – bass guitars, I was also up to something else.

Yes, I was creating new Memory Palaces. I snapped up a floor plan upon arrival and determined that I was going to consume as much of the convention hall as I could for future memorization use.

Of course, it’s a pretty indistinct place, and its contents are always changing from convention to convention. So, taking a tip from my friend Joshua Smith, I “lowered the hurdle” on myself. Instead of memorizing the entire layout of the convention center, I decided to pay attention to the individual booths within the hall where the guitars and basses were on display. This proved much easier and I now have a fantastic new Memory Palace.

But keep reading to learn how I originally snagged myself and then ironed out the details so that this new Palace is as effective as possible. It started out with some complications, as I’m about to admit.

Back to the Frankfurt Messe: The first thing I did was to notice that the hall was a large square with two entrance/exit portals on two of the walls. Next, I counted the number of corridors running between the portals and took note of the booths. I won’t bore you with the names of the different guitar companies, but for me it was an essential step to focus solely on the ones that I recognized.

Why? Because this is a key component of the Magnetic Memory Method. We want to use stations in our Memory Palaces that come to mind in the most natural way possible. We don’t want to have to expend any energy whatsoever in order for us to find the next station along our journey.

Therefore, my goal was not to memorize guitar companies with which I was familiar, but to simply take note of where the guitar companies I was already familiar with were stationed along a journey up and down the corridors.

I now have fifteen new stations in that hall alone, which is a great achievement. I also made sure to take note of the journey from the guitar hall to the front entrance of the convention center, giving me five new stations. Then there was the transit stop where I grabbed the tram to the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) and the short journey to the apartment of my friend where I stayed. This gives me 5 more stations in my Musikmesse Memory Palace.

Of course, I would be remiss not to use my friend’s apartment now that I’m familiar with it. By starting at a terminal station within his apartment, I can put together another 10 stations before leaving his door.

Now, thinking out loud about this, I’m mixing two journeys and they are coming at odds with one another. I can’t leverage the strength of this palace by moving towards my friend’s house from the Musikmesse and then trapping myself in his apartment. Instead, I need to use the inside of his apartment as the beginning of the journey and then move to the entrance portal of the guitar hall. This way, I have a fluid journey in which I’ll never be trapped and never cross my own path.

This, dear Memorizers, is an example of how I think these things through and iron them out. It’s part of the principles of Preparation & Predetermination that I talk about in my books. It’s also part of the ongoing process of constantly gathering new Memory Palaces so that there are always new mental constructs based upon familiar territory within which I can place new material I want to memorize.

All that said, yesterday I made an offer for a free booklet I’ve created that includes 88 themes you can use when talking with tandem partners for fluency development. If you want it, just reply to this email and say “send me the themes.” I’m off to play a concert first thing in the morning tomorrow, but I promise that I’ll get it to you as soon as I can once I’ve received your message.

Until next time, make sure to teach someone what you have learned about memorization. It’s the best way to deepen your own understanding and to help make the world a better – and more memorable – place. The more we remember, the more we can remember, and the more we learn, the more we can learn.

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