Mastering a new skill and learning and adapting to new trends is not optional in today’s business environment – it is crucial to your career success.
Below are some general tips to help you entrench a new skill.
- There is phrase that says, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” This applies to anything in life and is particularly true for business skills. When you are mentally ready to learn a new skill, the opportunities around you will open up to learn the skill. So when it comes to learning a new skill, you should be mentally ready to receive the knowledge because of a high need in your role and the high probability of you using the skill once you have learnt it.
- Adapt to your learning style. There are many options to learn a skill. You can: go to a course; you can job-shadow someone; read a book; find an online course; listen to a podcast; watch a video – the list is endless. Perhaps you learn best by applying a variety of learning styles. Identifying the best learning environment, maximizes your chance of entrenching the knowledge.
- Seek help in the form of mentors, teachers, role-models and coaches. There is a wealth of people who could help you to fast-track your learning. The more people that you surround yourself with, the more you learn from others. Have a diverse network of people that guide you, support you and provide you with insight on the skill that you wish to master.
- Maintain a journal writing down your thoughts of what you have just learnt. When you convert your thoughts into something that you can read (hand-written) there is an immediate connection between receiving the information and internalizing it. As you write down your thoughts, reflect on what you are learning; the importance of the skill and how by mastering the skill it will significantly impact your role and your service to those around you.
- Immediately implement what you have learnt. The best time to try something new, is just after you have learnt it. When implementing the skill, learn from trial and error. Do not expect to master the skill immediately. Embrace the mistakes and learn from the mistakes. You can also learn the skill by trying different approaches to applying the skill. Say you are learning how to become confident. You can practice confidence by speaking up in a meeting; asking a question in a public conference; presenting to a group of people. The range of approaches makes your experience of the skill more holistic.
- Be patient. Be persistent. It takes time to entrench a new skill. Be patient with yourself and with others as you apply different approaches. Be persistent and do not give up on yourself. Depending on the skill that you are trying to master, it could attract challenges that were beyond your imagination. You have attracted that challenge because you are mentally ready to handle the challenge. So embrace the challenge and the learning and growth that will come with it. You will not only entrench the skill – you will also build your character.
- Once you master the skill – teach those around you. Create a virtuous learning cycle by passing on the light of knowledge that you have gained. Think of small and simple ways in which you can training other people around you. These include: conducting a presentation to a group of people; writing a guide that you email to staff members; or having verbal discussions around a cup of coffee sharing your knowledge.
When learning a new skill, there is nothing wrong with muttering under your breath. Ignore the looks that you might get from other people! When you speak to yourself, you summarise the content in your own way. This helps you slow down and by being more deliberate, you gain more from the learning experience.
You can pose questions to yourself, like: “What am I missing?” or “What am I doing wrong?” or “How can I be better at this?” You can also pose positive statements to yourself like: “I am going to find a way to get better at doing this,” or “Patience, I am going to get through this.” Questions and statements posed to yourself in this way help you to motivate yourself and further entrench the knowledge.