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5 Powerful Steps To Learn Anything Faster

5 Powerful Steps To Learn Anything Faster

Put an average Joe next to someone of success and you’ll find that the latter had more knowledge to get to where they are today.

While there’s only so much time in the day to learn new skills, you can accelerate how fast you learn something. Whether you want to learn a new language, understand real estate, or learn how to start a business, the person who can learn faster will always have the upper hand in life.

Here are 5 powerful steps to learn anything faster.

1. Method beats hours

When it comes to learning something new, the method will always beat the number of hours you put into something. This isn’t to say that the number of hours isn’t important, but you should choose which method will give you the best results.

For example, let’s say two people were driving from Boston to New York City. It doesn’t matter how skilled or committed the first driver is. If he’s driving a beat-up pickup truck and the second driver has a Ferrari, the first driver will lose.

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Your method is the vehicle that will become the engine of where you want to go. With anything you want to learn, there will be dozens of available methods to follow, and “experts” to learn from. This means that you want to spend a lot of time understanding who you’re learning from, what credibility they have, and how it fits with your learning style.

2. Apply the 80/20 rule

As a reader of Lifehack, you’ve probably heard of Pareto’s Law.

It is a concept developed by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto which explains that 80% of your desired outputs will come from only 20% of your inputs.

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    While the exact ratio varies from situation to situation, you’ll find that:

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    • 20% of people in your life will lead to 80% of your happiness
    • 20% of your customers will drive 80% of your sales
    • 20% of your learning methods will lead to 80% of your results

    When it comes to learning, it feels like there’s so much we don’t know, so it’s easy to jump around everywhere. This will only lead to wasted time. What you want to do is focus on the one or two things that will drive the needle for what you want to achieve and double down on them.

    For example, if you’re learning Spanish to travel this summer, instead of learning how to write or read, you should learn how to speak Spanish. Or instead of trying to please a dissatisfied customer that’s only paying you $37/month, you should add 10 times more value to a customer that’s paying you $1,000/month.

    3. Learn by doing

    Immersion is by far the best way to learn anything. And as research shows, it turns out that humans retain:

    • 5% of what they learn when they’ve learned from a lecture.
    • 10% of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading.
    • 20% of what they learn from audio-visual.
    • 30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration
    • 50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.
    • 75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned.
    • 90% of what they learn when they use it immediately.

    Think back to how you learned to play basketball, ride a bicycle, or swim. Instead of watching tutorial videos or reading a textbook on how to do something, the way to learn faster is to get into the trenches and gain experience through making mistakes.

    4. Find a coach

    From business titans to professional athletes, the people performing at the highest levels all have one thing in common: they have a coach.

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    According to best-selling author Seth Godin, there are five reasons you might quit in anything you do:

    • You run out of time (and quit)
    • You run out of money (and quit)
    • You get scared (and quit)
    • You’re not serious about it (and quit)
    • You lose interest (and quit)

    Having a coach allows you to see the blind spots that you couldn’t see before, and guide you through the tough times that inevitably come when you’re learning anything new.

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      A coach doesn’t have to cost $1 million a year, like what Tony Robbins charges, or even $1,000. If you’re trying to learn a language, you could have a language coach you work with. If you’re trying to learn an instrument, it could be finding a private teacher to help you.

      The point is, you’re not going at it alone. And having someone that’s keeping you accountable can take you miles further than doing everything yourself.

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      5. Process over performance

      Doing the work is often the hardest thing for most people. A common mistake people make when they’re learning something new is to focus on performance over process. It’s hard to see any consistent results until you’ve put in a significant amount of work upfront.

      For writers, this is sitting down and writing 500 words a day — no matter how bad it may turn out. For athletes, this is waking up every morning and training — no matter how groggy and sore you feel. For language learners, it’s forcing yourself to speak the language every day — no matter how many mistakes you make or how uncomfortable you may feel.

      “Seventy percent of success in life is showing up.” — Woody Allen

      Taking small steps may not sound sexy, but it has been the proven path to follow for anything you’ll want to achieve in your life and business.

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      Last Updated on April 11, 2019

      How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

      How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

      Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

      I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

      I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

      Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

      How Communication Skills Help Your Success

      Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

      Create a Positive Experience

      Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

      When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

      What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

      Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

      As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

      Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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      Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

      Help Leadership Skills

      It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

      Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

      As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

      Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

      If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

      Build Better Teams

      Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

      In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

      If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

      When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

      Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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      How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

      There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

      Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

      1. Listen

      Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

      Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

      People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

      Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

      Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

      2. Know Your Audience

      Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

      Here is a good way to think about it:

      Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

      You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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      3. Minimize

      I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

      He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

      Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

      State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

      The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

      4. Over Communicate

      So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

      What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

      Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

      Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

      Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

      There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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      5. Body Language

      The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

      When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

      In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

      When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

      Conclusion

      Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

      Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

      There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

      Now go communicate your way to success.

      More Resources About Effective Communication

      Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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