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How to Master Any Skill

How to master any skill

How to master any skill

To master any skill, you will need to pass through the following five stages.

  1. Presentation.
  2. Memorisation.
  3. Comprehension.
  4. Utilisation.
  5. Personalisation.

Let us look at each stage, in turn.

1. Presentation.

Presentation means the initial input of the material to be mastered.

The input is through the six senses. You have six senses: Sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell and proprioception (which is the sense of your own body position).

Therefore, to be aware of anything you must first see (read), hear, touch, taste, smell or perform an action. The primary source of all knowledge is through sense perception.

The information or skill you want to learn must be presented to your senses.

If you don't see it, hear it, smell it, taste it, feel it or do it, then you won't know anything about it.

At the moment of presentation, you should PAY ATTENTION. Some students fail because they don't pay attention to the initial input of the material.

Rapid learners understand the importance of being in full focus; they pay attention to what they see, hear, read, touch, taste, smell and do.

Then they move to stage two.

2. Memorisation.

Memorisation means making the effort to translate your initial perceptions into long term memories.

Perceptions only last a few minutes before they are replaced by new perceptions.

If you want to learn something, you must crystallise the perception into a long-term memory.

You must take steps to memorise what you have read; or memorise what you have heard; or memorise what you saw.

If you don't take active steps to memorise the material, then the chances are high that you will forget most of what you saw, read, heard, etc.

For most people, memorisation is not automatic. You don't automatically remember everything. In fact, most people automatically forget.

To remember, you must purposefully make yourself remember, by means of repetition, association, imagination, and effort.

  • Repetition means, review the material at least five times.
  • Association means; connect your new knowledge to your existing knowledge.
  • Imagination means; actively visualise what you are trying to remember.
  • Effort means, work at it. Take it seriously.

3. Comprehension.

Memorising information so that you can repeat it, like a parrot, is only of limited value.

Once you have it safely stored in your memory-banks, you should then strive to understand WHY the information is what it is.

For example, if you have memorised a poem, so that you can recite it word-perfect, that is not the same as fully understanding the poem in an artistic way.

When you have memorised a poem (or any other body of knowledge) then you are equipped to review it in your mind and strive to understand what you know.

For example, if you memorise the chemical periodic table of elements, that is great, but it is even better to understand WHY the periodic table must be the way it is.
But it is true that "Memory precedes understanding" because you cannot understand what you don't remember.

So, it is best to first memorise information and then go to work to understand it.

4. Utilisation.

Utilisation means; put your knowledge and understanding to the test by USING it.

Remember the Golden Rule that applies to all living things: Use it or lose it.

If you don't use it, you will lose it.

  • If you have learned a new word, then use it in conversation.
  • If you have learned a new trick, then use it to impress your friends.
  • If you have learned a new song, then sing it.

The more you use your knowledge the more you will memorise and understand it.

Please note the reciprocal relationship between memorisation, comprehension and utilisation.

Finally, you will reach the stage of ...

5. Personalisation.

Personalisation means making the material yours.

If you have learned the lines of a play, you become the character and the character becomes you.

If you learn a new idea and you apply it, then you become an embodiment of the idea; and the idea becomes a part of your personality.

You become it; it becomes you.

If you learn a skill, then inject your unique personality into it.

If you have a new recipe for apple pie; you can always choose to change it to reflect your own unique personality, taste and style. (Have you tried adding cinnamon?)

Personalisation is a merging of what you know with who you are.

This is the creative component of learning.

Personalisation occurs when you add your personality to the skill; you improve the skill, and advance the art.

Nobody does it, quite like you.

Nobody would, nobody could.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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