Tri-city chambers mix fellowship and memory in meeting

Chester Santos, international man of memory.

Three local area Chambers of Commerce met Thursday at the American Legion Post 716 in Los Alamitos, mixing a chance for local businesspeople to get to know each other a little better and listening to an international memory expert who delivered tips for better networking.

“Thank you for taking the time to be here,” said Kori De Leon, a past president of the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce and mistress of ceremonies for the evening.

After an open networking period, where approximately 100 Chamber members from Seal Beach, Los Alamitos and Cypress Chambers had a chance to get to know each other, De Leon introduced the sponsors for the evening and thanked them for their support in bringing the three Chambers together.

A large crowd gathered at the American Legion post in Los Al for the Tri-City Chambers meeting.
Courtesy photo

Nesi Stewart, Chairwoman of the Los Alamitos Chamber, said “this is a great opportunity for our members to get to know their business neighbors.” She said there will be more such events in the future.

Legion official Ernie Roriguez welcomed the group and led the pledge of allegiance.
De Leon introduced Chester Santos, who she said is “known around the world” as an international memory expert, citing his appearances on major national television networks and being named America’s memory champion.

Santos immediately noted that his presentation was going to seem a bit unconventional, but he promised if the audience paid attention, it would teach them how to utilize the mind’s “incredible” potential to remember.

“Some of what I asked you to do is going to seem a bit weird, perhaps silly, unusual, but please bear with me, because I promise you, these things that I asked you will dramatically improve your ability to remember just about anything at all,” Santos said.

For instance, before the presentation began, Santos quietly made his way around the room introducing himself and having the guests introduce themselves to him. Then, without hesitation, Santos pointed to various people in the audience, asking them to stand when he called their names.

Without fail, he named about 30 people by their first names as they stood up. Santos said he was a bit rusty because of the pandemic, noting that he has named as many as 100 people in a crowd after only meeting them once.

He started the presentation by asking the audience to undertake a “visualization exercise” in which he told a graphic story about political figures that everyone was familiar with doing things that most people would recognize as a bit absurd.

“What does that have to do with improving your ability, or remembering things like names,” asked Santos? information the audience that visualized word pictures in the mind can actually help anyone remember very complicated things.

“Reason number one why I had you exercise your visual ability is because your visual ability and your visual memory are incredibly powerful,” said Santos.
He demonstrated it by repeating a series of words that seemed to make no logical sense being tied together, then asking if anyone in the crowd could repeat them. No one could exactly do it.

Then, Santos did it again, this time, creating visual descriptions and word pictures for each word and then associating them by using the seemingly disconnected words to tell a story. Then, he repeated it and then successfully asked the crowd to repeat them.

“You were able to complete that little exercise because you have the ability to remember anything,” he said.

He then demonstrated how our senses play a role in memory by using an example of a story where two well known politicians smash a pie in each other’s faces. He asked the audience to shut their eyes, and just listen, allowing their senses to take over as he told the story.

As the pie smashes into each face and drips down their cheeks, Santos asked the audience to review the mental imagery and visualization the story created. “You could almost smell the pie,” he said. “It smelled like politician.”

“Brain scientists have confirmed these memory techniques I’ve mastered over the years,” said Santos, who noted what he was doing is showing everyone how to “recruit extra areas of the brain” with word association, visualization and using the senses.

While it is perhaps scientifically impossible to explain why some moments of our lives do live forever in our brain and others simply fade away, images and events with shock value tend to be remembered more, he said.

“If an elephant suddenly crashed through the doors, spraying everyone with water, you would probably remember that for the rest of your lives,” said Santos.

Yet, he said, “it is still not fully understood how the brain works,” why the brain allows some moments to “go into long memory” and other times, “we might spend weeks and months trying to drill something into our head very important information.”

He urged the business group to utilize the three main principles, simple visualization, using the senses and make what you’re experiencing in your mind weird or extraordinary in some way.

“When you put those things together, it instantly becomes easier to remember,” he said.