Becoming knowledgeable often stems from a point of disagreement or differencing opinions… our favorite topic. Don’t you love when some disagrees with you? Fights you tooth and nail? Though conflict and disagreement can be annoying, and more than a little frustrating, these moments in time can become some of the most important in our professional careers. They provide opportunities to become more knowledgeable and improve your team member skills. By engaging with those you disagree with, and listening to what they say, you’re gathering valuable information you didn’t have before about the topic and gaining more information on how others see the world.
How do you learn best?
Did you ever do the test in school where you discovered the best way you learn? In fifth grade our teacher took us through a variety of exercises to have us see if we learn best with visual, audio, or mixed teachings. Because people learn in different ways it is important to remember that people have the potential to excel with different cognitive abilities, therefore, people learn effectively in completely different ways.
If your teacher didn’t take you through this exercise in school you might find it useful to go back to the fundamentals to learn more about how you best learn. Understanding your learning technique by taking this quiz to allow yourself to become more knowledgeable on the subject you’re learning. Once discovered, make this your main source of learning, making sure you throw in some alternative ways for optimal results.
Exercises to improve your knowledge skills:
1. Learn through structured sessions
Just as we all learn differently; we all have different memories. Some of us are blessed with photographic memory and never forget anything that we see, but for the rest of us using memory exercises can help to improve your focus and knowledge base.
Most of us who come from University backgrounds can relate to cramming last minute for exams trying to pack as much information into our brains as we can before the test begins. However, last minute binge studying is laziness in disguise. When we cram, we don’t think carefully about the meaning of what we’re learning. As professors will tell you in lecture, make sure you structure your time well. Structured study sessions over a period of time allows you to process the information more adequately, the brain takes in more information through small regular sessions than one long, binge marathon.
2. Learn through relation
Taking what you have learned and applying it to situations is an effective way to understand new information. For example, if you are reading about organizational psychology it would be helpful to think about your own role at work and how the concepts apply to your own team. By doing this, you allow your brain to see connections through experience and previous knowledge which cements the knowledge into your brain.
3. Learn through doing
Getting your hands involved and actively engaged in the learning is one of the most effective ways people tend to learn. Lifting words from a page can be good in doses, but often our brain needs to experience the theories to fully understand the connections.
Learning through doing is especially important when you are learning a new language. Immersion from a young age or through a study abroad program where you are placed into a situation where you’re forced to speak the language all of the time and the brain is pushed find translations as well as picking up on subtleties of speech, intonation, and assumption through gestures is one of the fastest ways a person can learn. Putting your mind through this kind of environment trains it to find connections faster and more efficiently than if you were reading through a textbook or flipping through flashcards on a language app.
4. Learn through sharing
Sit with your boyfriend, girlfriend, mutual friend, family member, whatever and share the information with someone else. Teaching someone else the information reinforces what you’ve learned in your mind and brings to lights any gaps in the information that you don’t clearly understand yet. By translating the information you’ve gained into your own words and in a way that others can understand you further cement the information into your mind because you have created a firsthand relationship to it. Another option to test this step is to start a blog, create a presentation or participate in discussions on the subject to solidify your knowledge.
Feeling more knowledgeable? Great, now be implement it at work:
Once you figure out how you learn best and are actively using it and improving your knowledge base you can use the knowledge you have gained at work. But remember, just because you have more knowledge doesn’t mean that you are right all of the time. When you let go of the need to be right and listen to what other people have to say your stress level will plummet. This can make a big difference in your overall health and professional satisfaction.
If you sincerely try to understand another’s point of view, even if you respectfully disagree with them, they’ll respond better to you. Openness can lead to revelations. Don’t be surprised if you learn that it was you who had it wrong all along. After all, if two intelligent people disagree, it’s not logical to assume that you will always be right. When you decide to open yourself up in this way, everyone benefits and grows more knowledgeable.
The more we truly listen, the more knowledgeable we become, the more friends we make, and the less stress we create. By using and implementing these learning skills in your daily life you can receive enormous dividends not only for your professional life but for your overall health and well-being too.