Everyday month, week, or day we are asked to learn something new. Be it someone's name, an important date, or being sent on a company training. All this new information is stored in the recesses of our brain. But is it locked away and never seen again ...?
When I go to a workshop or watch a training video it takes me a while to process this information. If I don't work on these learnings I find it doesn't filter into my brain properly. It's embarrassing when someone asks me what the workshop was about or what I learnt and I can't tell them!
So how do we make sure you can capture this knowledge for future use? How do we show that what we are learning is actually being used, remembered, and applied?
Here are some tips that I have learnt along the way:
1. Take notes
Take really good notes. Anything that inspires you or connects you to the why. I like to take quotes from the speaker/facilitator as well as the key tips they share. Others find doodling or drawing keeps them focussed. Just make sure you can use this information as a refresher.
2. Use these notes to do refresher notes
Make succinct and fresher notes later that day/week. Use this to connect with why you were there in the first place and how it can be applied.
3. Reflect on what you have learnt
It is vital that you keep your notes handy and use them to reflect. Be it a week or a month later. Keep going back to why you are learning this and how you can put it into practice.
4. Connect the skill or info to something familiar
Relate your learning to something you have already experienced e.g. never fired someone? Well you most likely have had fights with friends - how could you have applied this new framework to that situation to make better?
5. Help your brain filter the information
Have a rest, take a nap, or go for a refreshing walk. Give your brain a rest from thinking. By doing this you are actually helping it filter all the information you have been learning.
These are great tips, but how can you apply them?
1. Remember that understanding comes from making mistakes, and mistakes come from application. No one gets it right the first time. Reality is almost always different to implementing theory. Learn from your mistakes, reflect, and keep on applying your learning!
2. Set yourself a goal. Are you going to use this skill everyday or only in certain situations? Are you going to speak up during that weekly meeting? Put your habit into practice by breaking down a big goal into smaller actionable steps - and congratulate yourself when you achieve them!
3. If you are finding it difficult to implement something talk to your team, a friend, or your mentor. Most people are willing to help when asked. They could give you interesting insights or tips into how you can apply your new skill in an easier way.
The key is to continually reflect, be easy on yourself, and ask for help! You don't need to be perfect but you should know where you can go when you need to refresh your brain.