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Learning New Skills: Top Strategies You Should Follow

If you dream of growing professionally and achieving all your career goals before your retirement, you cannot avoid the need for new, sophisticated skills.

By Flora MayerPublished 4 years ago 3 min read

If you dream of growing professionally and achieving all your career goals before your retirement, you cannot avoid the need for new, sophisticated skills. You must amass new techniques of doing your job, new information about your industry, and new leadership skills so that you can apply them to your intended career and personal growth. But as strong as your resolve to learn new skills are, you will not achieve much without proper learning habits.

It is imperative that you appreciate the fact that learning something new is hard and demanding. If you already have a permanent job and probably a family to fend for, picking up new skills gets even harder. That is why you need to start by formulating a framework on how you will gain a new skill without compromising your current career and personal duties. Here are 4 techniques to start you off.

1. Set achievable goals

It is okay that you are ambitious enough to want to learn a new language in 6 months, but it is counter intuitive to imagine that you can achieve mastery within that time. It is important that you know what your end game is, but it is unwise to want to rush towards that endgame. If you need a year or two to learn the Spanish language, for example, start learning the language in small bits, all along ensuring that you keep moving in a consistent direction towards your endgame.

You can decide to start by learning the language to the point of understanding conversations in Mexican Telenovelas. After that, you can set your goal a bit higher, say, achieving fluency when conversing with a Spanish native speaker. The other goal can be to learn the slangs and dialects within the language, and so on.

2. Break down the goal into smaller sub-skills

This one is almost similar to the first strategy, except that you are breaking down the skill this time, not the goal. It is easier to practice a new skill when you’ve broken it into smaller sub-skills - You improve one sub-skill at a time, and then at the end of it, you combine all the sub-skills to form a whole skill sets.

It is more efficient, for example, to deconstruct a skill such as public speaking into small manageable parts. You can start by enrolling for public speaking courses and ensuring that from the course, you identify the areas of public speaking that are critical and the ones you are terrible at. If you are poor at maintaining eye contact, focus all your attention on learning and perfecting that skill. If you need to improve on gesture usage, work on that independently until you master the art.

You can then move on to other sub-skills, for example, stage mobility, audience engagement, and delivery of jokes. You will hardly get overwhelmed when you deconstruct the skill like that.

3. Test yourself regularly

After learning a sub-skill, you will know if you are headed in the right direction by testing yourself. There aren’t shortcuts in this regard. You must test yourself in a way that no external examiner would test you. If you have been taking notes, for example on how to become a good corporate leader, make sure that you revise those notes thoroughly before taking a test. The self-test can be either written or practice, or both. Convene meetings on a regular basis and see how better you’ve become at giving instructions, employee motivation, and other important aspects of good leadership.

4. Learn by trial and error

Building on the point above, it is important that we emphasize that humans are natural learners. No actual learning happens without the application part of the acquired skill. If, for example, you choose to learn web development and SEO, it is best that you start developing a website ASAP. Post new content regularly and try to optimize it for Google. The more posts you optimize, the more you improve the new website, the better you master the new skill. It is better to try out a theory and mess than to keep reciting untested theories in your head.

Conclusion

In everything you do, avoid taking the easy way out. Remember that as much as you want to acquire these new skills to boost your employ ability or to earn you a promotion, the significance of those skills do not end there. It is okay to struggle a little bit, especially at the initial stages. Don’t quit immediately you encounter a difficulty. Every struggle and sacrifice will be worth it in the long run.

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About the Creator

Flora Mayer

Flora is a young and ambitious who has been researching self-development for the past two years and is now off traveling the world. She helps tourists with free walking tours in London - so get in touch with her if you want a special tour.

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    FMWritten by Flora Mayer

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