Trust Your Memory

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Published February 2, 2016

Trust Your Memory

Recently, someone in one of my Seminars asked, “Is it all right if I take notes when I’m calling on someone for a gift?”

“No, I don’t think so. I have a strong personal bias in this regard. Your session with the probable donor is to be conversational. Not intimate, but close to it. You are listening. Carefully. You are listening with your eyes!

“If you are taking notes, you’re missing all the personal contacts. And when you are getting ready to ask for the gift, if you are taking notes, you are not going to get an answer.”

(The exception to this would be a planned giving officer who has to take down a great deal of data in order to make a proposal.)

Someone raised their hand and said, “I have a terrible memory.”

I’m embarrassed to say that I pretty much barked at him, “Don’t you dare say that. You have a good memory. If you say you have a poor memory, it simply reinforces your perception of your memory.”

Most of us do indeed have a good memory. But memory is a muscle. And it has to be practiced and exercised.

My good friend John Haggai wrote about this recently. John is in his early nineties. He has a remarkable memory. Not only for the past, but for the very recent. He explains how he does this.

“It’s really nothing remarkable. I simply write a note to every new person I meet. And I write a note to myself for my files. And then a few days later I follow that up with a call. That seals the information in my head.”

He admonishes us to not use such “ridiculous statements” as:

• I’m having a senior moment.
• I can’t remember as I once did.
• You’ll have to give me some slack until I get back to you.

You have a good memory. Use it!