How to Get People to Remember What You Say


How to Get People to Remember What You Say

By Marcia Reynolds

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Isn’t it amazing that no matter how carefully you select your words, people don’t remember what you said or meant? As soon as you are gone, the words seem to magically change and people will swear you said something different.

The truth is interpretations are heavily influenced by what they want to hear. Plus, you are competing with the continuous running commentary going on in most people’s heads about what is happening and what to eat for dinner.

Coaching Tips:

Consider these tips BEFORE you talk.

1) Start with the payoff. First explain why they should care. What are you trying to help them with, and why is it important they care? Spark their desire if you want to be heard.

2) Avoid using fear to prompt action. As soon as the brain senses a threat, it triggers the muscles to tighten and the heart rate to increase. Then either your listeners will be thinking of ways to defend themselves or their brains will shut down in protection.

3) Be clear about what you expect your audience to do with the information. Clearly paint the picture of the desired result, adding in clear deadlines if you have them.

4) Check your feelings. Humans are able to sense other people’s emotions as a matter of survival. If you are feeling fear, anger, irritation, frustration, or any type of stress, you will pass that emotion on to your listeners, and they will hear your words through that filter. Before you speak, choose the emotion you want to project (hope, excitement, pride, gratitude, confidence) and sink it into your body. Set the emotional tone and hold it there throughout your presentation.

5) If at first they don’t get it, say it differently. Don’t get upset when you think someone didn’t listen to you. Try saying it in a different way. Don’t repeat your words — reframe them.

Communication is one of the hardest skills for any leader to master. Practice may never make perfect but it will increase the positive impact of your words.


About the Author

Marcia ReynoldsMarcia Reynolds, PsyD, works with clients worldwide focusing on emotional intelligence and change. She is a Master Certified Coach and a past president of the International Coach Federation. Her website is

Contact her at 602-954-9030,