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Teaching the Brain: The 10 Factors of Learning

Part 4 of 4-part series on better speaking with
Guest Blogger, Lizabeth Phelps

This 4-part series has centered around public speaking. The first week, I spoke about mirror neurons and how our audiences “mirror” our energy; the second week, I spoke about maintaining energy when you’re speaking about your business off-stage (where most entrepreneurs fumble); and last week, I urged you to “get strategic” about your speaking and shared the strategy that makes not only getting clients so much easier, but ensures that every one of your speaking engagements maintains your brand identity.

Today, I want to circle back to delivery from stage.

To be your best as an audience leader, you must understand how to teach the brain–what the brain needs in order to learn. This is a massive subject, and one I’ve spent years absorbing. My public speaking training, Secrets of Impact and Influence, integrates the learning, memory and emotion areas of neuroscientific research to teach how to get the attention of audiences’ brains, keep that attention, and enable long-term learning.

Here, I will share some of what I teach in that training: the 10 factors of rapid and deep learning. You will find them in the graphic below:

In order for your audiences to truly learn, you must have all 10 of these factors present in your talks and seminars. Many of these are common sense—but the key is ensuring that you are employing all ten. This can be disarming for many traditional speakers. Yes, there must be physical movement—the body learns. We have been taught the opposite–that body movement is antithetical to learning (“sit still and pay attention”), but the truth is, physical movement releases acetylcholine, a brain chemical involved in communication between neurons. So, for someone to learn optimally, their body must be part of the process.

It also means that you will encourage much vocal expression! This really unnerves outdated presenters, but it’s absolutely essential: millions of signals are simultaneously sent through the nerves to the brain when we speak. Three very powerful ways of encoding information into the brain take place through speaking and vocal cord vibration. Therefore, to do what’s comfortable for you—have your audiences sit quietly and listen with no vocal expression—is to rob them of successful learning. Get them talking frequently!

“Monamines” are the feel-good chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain. They are released when we’re having a good time and they affect attention, memory, motivation, mood, wakefulness, learning, pleasure—everything that teachers/speakers need to stimulate. So, you must create an enriched and fun environment for your audiences to get them feeling good!

Finally, whatever you teach must have a period of “consolidation.” Memory is not formed at the moment information is acquired. Unconscious processes continue to strengthen the connections over days, weeks, months, and even years. This is called “consolidation” or the “gelling” period. Therefore, building rehearsal strategies and “breaks” into your material, thus allowing students time to process information more in-depth, increases the strength of the learning. When you’re teaching over a period of time, be sure to revisit the material as the gelling is taking place.

There is much more to teaching the brain than just incorporating these 10 factors, but if you do at least these, your audience’s retention of your material will soar—as will your business. Audiences will love you and want more!


Lizabeth Phelps is founder of Inspired Leaders’ Academy, the definitive business school for visionary entrepreneurs changing the world. Find out why you, as such a visionary, are in a different business from everyone else, and how you must do business differently, in a free 4-part video training series at

Comment from Lisa:

I think this was my favorite post of the series! I had learned about some of these elements in Toastmasters and in a trainers training class, but a few of them, like the need for breaks and interaction along with review for "gelling" the information was new. And the monimines. This will all be helpful information as I prepare my two presentations for next week (as well as future ones).

I'm confident I'm going to really captivate my audience and assure greater learning, retention, and enjoyment!

Thanks, Lizabeth!


Are you among the 90% of people who dread speaking in public/to groups? Do you need help increasing your confidence in presenting your expertise in person or via teleclasses? If so, we need to talk! Schedule a complimentary MMM Strategy Session with me to find out how I can help you release your fears, improve your confidence as a speaker, and influence more people with the unique help you have to offer.

Your partner in success,

Lisa Smith
Marketing, Mindset & Manifesting Coach



  1. Elatia Harris says:

    This graphic is pinned to my bulletin board — permanently. One of my first interactions with Lizabeth. While I am not in danger of forgetting it, just seeing it many tmes a day reminds me: I have the keys to the kingdom now! Wonderful to have read Lizabeth here, Lisa.

    • Lisa Smith says:

      I’m keeping it in my speaker’s folder on my computer to remind me of the elements to include when preparing my presentations. What presentation opportunities do you have, Elatia?

  2. Ginny Rowland says:

    I found Lizabeth's model very helpful!  It has me thinking about elements to add to an upcoming talk i am giving.  One other trick I learned was to get an audience to speak, it must happen within the first few minutes of a talk, otherwise self-consciousness can set in.
    Thank you for your excellent blogs, Lisa!  Always very informative and thought provoking.  Ginny

    • Lisa Smith says:

      Thank you for your comments and tip, Ginny. I hadn’t heard that one about getting them to speak early.

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