There’s a rule in marketing that it takes 7 times for someone to remember something – I think. I might have only heard that 5 times so far 😉 All jokes aside, getting your point across can often entail multiple iterations of the same information. I have found great success in using subtle variations to achieve the desired outcome. People are bombarded by information now and so it’s critical that your message is able to withstand this external pressure.
But it’s not just informational repetition that has great value – practice is it’s own form and has outcomes attached to it to. Practising how to repeat yourself – without becoming insane – is very important in communications. I’ve found that the same message delivered by different people over an extended time is also effective – but choose your people wisely. A boring or offensive person hurts the message, but a warm and trusted person adds a level of authenticity to the message you might not otherwise get. There is a trap though – be too obvious about it all and things can be negatively impacted, making everyone sad.
Phased repetition when learning new things is a method I’ve employed for some time – particularly when learning or teaching music. Elements of that music need to be focused on in order to build the full piece into a cogent musical expression. Repeating key parts is very useful for improving and managing this. Again, it pays to spend time on any element of novelty that you can inject into the activity – simply smashing the same stuff over and over can cause people to be driven insane by it.
I’ve found when dealing with kids that giving them the same information over and over – often with the same words is the exception to this rule – it seems to go in one ear and out the other, catching on nothing in between but air! Novelty can again be key to building connection, but beware the cost to the message as they focus on the wrong element of the message.
I’ve talked a lot on this blog so far about systems thinking and repeating this information in different ways is one method I have for exploring the topic and building the ideas in my own head. Repeating key themes allows for the expansion of thought around the topic.
There is much to be gained by the useful of mindful repetition – even finance gets a boost from small repeated investments in stocks or savings. This is how compound interest works after all! At the risk of repeating myself too much (get it?! hahaha) I’ll leave this topic be for now.