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  • Knowledge is Success: It's Always Time to Learn

    Flowers and Profits® 

    Imagine how much easier your work would be if you retained everything you've learned. But with new information constantly bombarding you, how can you possibly keep up?

    One way to improve your learning and memory skills is to learn a little about the way you assimilate new information. In addition to taking advantage of their natural process of retaining knowledge, any type of learner can use several easy methods to make the process more efficient.

    For most people, formal learning ends with the completion of high school or college. But in reality, learning is a lifelong process. You acquire information every day. Some of it bears remembering, and some does not. Deciding what's important — and finding ways to recall that information — can help in your work and in your life.

    Think you're too busy to learn? Few things to which you devote time will actually give you more usable time. Learning does. Becoming more knowledgeable about your profession can make you more efficient at your job, giving you more free time.

    You probably have not thought about the skills of learning since school days. Here's some of the latest information about how to make your study time more effective.

    Learning Short Cuts

    Does this sound familiar? You're in your car when a nostalgic song comes on the radio. Memories flood back to you. Long-forgotten moments quickly become vivid again — the euphoria of a big sports victory, the satisfaction of the first wedding bouquet you created or the view from a mountaintop resort you once visited. One of the best ways to make information "stick" is to charge it with emotion.

    Use It or Lose It

    Have you ever looked over notes from a seminar you attended a year ago and have been surprised to rediscover good information you'd forgotten all about? It's natural to lose information you don't use. That's why it's so important to incorporate new information as quickly as possible — ideally within a few days.

    Sometimes it's easy to use information immediately. If you learn a new software command, try to use it two or three times that same day.

    Some information may be more challenging to incorporate immediately — information gleaned from a financial seminar, for example. It will help if you find a way to interact further with the information by using it to create a new spreadsheet or derive information from your balance sheet. If nothing else, return to your notes several times during the next week to refresh your memory.

    Teach It

    One excellent way to reinforce learning is to teach someone else.

    If you've learned a new Dove® system entry, teach several others in the shop how to make it. If you've recently attended a full-day seminar, deliver an hour-long presentation to the shop staff, recapping the main points in the session.

    The time you spend preparing for your presentation and putting the information into your own words will have benefits far beyond the mini-session you give fellow workers.

    Practice Makes Perfect

    Repetition is a very powerful technique to enhance learning and memory. Take a new telephone number, for example. You could try to memorize it by looking at it a dozen times or so in a day without much luck. On the other hand, if you dial it three or four times in one day (with the phone on the hook), it will be planted solidly in your memory.

    Actively review important information. If you're learning a new way to offer add-on sales, take several calls in a row. Almost anything you do repeatedly will stay with you longer.

    You Can Do It

    Your desire to learn has much more effect on your success than any other factor, including natural intelligence, age or reading ability.

    If you sincerely want to improve your knowledge, you will succeed. But you'll have to discipline yourself. Keep in mind that mastering new information is something important that you are doing for your personal growth and don't let yourself get sidetracked.

    Combine your determination with the skills and methods outlined in this article and you may be surprised at the results. Don't believe it? Try some dedicated study using the suggested techniques. Give it four weeks and see if your learning isn't more fun and your retention improved in the first month alone.


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