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5 Reasons Why Smart Learners Are Better Hires Than Smart People

5 Reasons Why Smart Learners Are Better Hires Than Smart People

Hiring an employee is one of the single largest investments companies have to make. Employers can maximize their investment by hiring people who can handle varying tasks, rather than those who specialize in one area. It’s no surprise that productivity and versatility are quickly growing as important traits to consider in the screening process.

Smart learners understand the importance of structured learning and time management. One study shows that French people work an average of 20% less hours than the rest of the world, but make about the same amount of money. How is this possible? Productivity.

Productivity goes deeper than knowing when to answer emails or stay off of social media. It’s rooted in the desire to maximize your working hours. The best way to do this? Start learning deliberately.

Don’t throw things at a wall to see what sticks. Figure out the exact information that is necessary to help you with tasks you may be unfamiliar with. This will prevent you from wasting time learning about things you will never use. And this is exactly what smart learners do.

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1. They focus

They understand it’s better to work on one task at a time. Trying to multi-task stretches your mental capacity for learning. When smart learners have a task, they focus on it until it’s completion. This allows them to put more effort into single tasks, and as a consequence, enables them to become better time managers.

2. They learn efficiently

This goes deeper than just focusing. Understanding deliberate learning allows smart learners to take advantage of their working hours and learn only the most essential information as it is required. They spend time becoming knowledgeable where it is important, and at the correct time.

Smart learners prevent themselves from becoming pre-occupied with non-essential information. Focusing on just the essentials allows them to conserve their energy and learn as much information as necessary. When they learn this way, they are often able to put their knowledge directly into action. This in turn helps to solidify what has been learned.

3. They filter information

With the internet we can search and find almost any information we want. The problem is, not all of the information is great. One strategy smart learners use, is only choosing to learn from the most credible sources. This ensures that the information is reputable and worth learning.

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Filtering information to utilize only the most credible resources will boost learning productivity. As a consequence, a smart learner will learn to recognize high quality writing. Once you know what high quality information looks like, it is easy to skip over the fluff.

4. They are lazy.

This is actually a compliment. Lazy (smart) learners find the quickest way to do things. This directly falls in line with the concept of life hacking. Find the path of least resistance and get your task done quicker.

Being lazy allows learners to expend the least amount of energy possible. In turn, they are able to conserve their energy for when they really need it. Productivity is enhanced and energy is saved for only the most important information.

5. They are humble

Smart people are generally highly educated in structured environments. Smart learners have a greater ability to learn independently.

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Not being given a structured environment forces learners to seek out the information on their own. Many mistakes are usually made in the process. This can be helpful for those who learn from their mistakes. Smart learners understand that they don’t know everything – and are generally less averse to risk and not afraid of making mistakes.

Hiring a smart learner enables companies to increase productive working hours. Smart learners not only seek out information on their own, but they focus on learning only the most essential information as it is required. This allows management to spend less time managing, and employees more time to focus on their tasks.

It is critical to filter information and decide on what is immediately important. Most employers can’t afford as many employees as they need. This is where hiring versatile people who can learn on their own comes in.

Hiring for the versatility and productivity that smart learners afford can save employers a lot of money. Paying one slightly higher salary is a lot better than paying three or four slightly lower salaries. Going forward, we will see employees taking on more responsibility and working in several roles.

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It’s not enough to simply manage your time. You need to know how to use it effectively.

Featured photo credit: Girl and a laptop in the park via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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