Tell me something I don’t know!
I think I used that line, “Tell me something I don’t know” so often when I was a kid because I thought I knew everything. Besides, I guess it seemed like a cool thing to say. From a kid’s perspective, I was saying, “I already know that, so stop wasting my time telling me stuff I already know.” That attitude doesn’t necessarily end when we become adults. Many of us still think if someone says something we already know they are wasting our time, but are they?
I was talking to Robert the other day. Robert owns a cleaning business and is required to take periodic classes for the certifications he maintains. In fact, many industries have necessary certifications that often involve investing in continuing education credits. Most of the information distributed in these continuing education courses isn’t really new material, but is, in fact, a repackaging of old news. Think about it, when you’ve taken these trainings, do you find a lot of new stuff? Probably not. Most people would describe the content as dry and dull. We tend not to give it our full attention, because we feel like we do all this for a living…what can we learn that’s new? We start looking at the clock and hoping they are providing lunch, and that lunchtime comes soon.
Why Do Instructors Repeat Material?
Do you remember the words to a song the first time you hear it? How about the second time you listen to it? It might take hundreds of times of listening to a song before you can memorize the entire song. The same thing is correct with training classes. You can’t possibly take everything you learn in one class and be expected to become an expert. That is why schools assign homework. Repetition is one of the best ways to practice and master the material. In my discussion with Robert, I learned every time he took a continuing education class, he would be reminded of something he had forgotten since his last training. Perhaps it was a technique or new tool he could use to be more effective in his job. By taking the classes Robert is able to latch onto one nugget that helps him perform better in his career.
Can I Get Better Through Repetition?
People have a tendency to hear something for the second, third or even tenth time and figure because they know it, they don’t have to pay attention. In the classes I teach, I ask the participants when they hear something that is familiar or they already know, start asking themselves if they’ve mastered that technique or idea. Most of the time the answer is no. They might understand a concept, comprehend it thoroughly, and even incorporate it into their careers, upon further reflection they always realize they can be doing better. It is the reintroduction of material that helps them come up with the better way to implement what they already know and become even more effective in their careers.
Reading for Better Understanding
Many of the books I read for research start out by instructing the reader to read the book several times. In fact, I have several books that I read on a regular basis. Why? The material doesn’t change. The concepts don’t change. Why do I read them over and over again? Because every time I read them I get a deeper understanding of the ideas the author is presenting. On the very first page in my copy of Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People are some suggestions to get the most out of the book including…
- Read each chapter twice
- Review the book each month
…among others. He does this because people tend to forget what they read unless they can keep it in front of them. This is why we all write down something we think it is essential, so we can be reminded later. No matter how many times I read the same book, I always come across something new to implement.
This Week’s Challenge
This week’s challenge is to take a class or read a book on a topic you’ve already studied. This time really consider the material and see how much “new” information you’ll know when you review the material again.
Do you want to maximize the impact of your training?
Click here to find a Shaffer Solution for you!
Shaffer Ingenuity can help you find what really drives you and provide you the tools to achieve those goals!
Quote of the Week
“Education does not mean teaching people what they do not know. It means teaching them to behave as they do not behave.”