“How many books have you read?” That was the question one of my students asked me as I quoted a theory by memory in class last week.
The answer is “a lot – a very lot,” but what could make it seem like even more is that I read with the aim of applying the information that I read. My goal when I read a book (or article) is to distill one key nugget from it that I can remember and use. The information may be applicable for a blog, a class lesson, a workshop, a conversation starter or a tidbit to share with my sister in a letter, but my aim is to take away one tiny piece that I can add as a tool in my repertoire.
I think we often are exposed to so much information that we fail to absorb it in meaningful ways. By training myself to take a moment to capture one piece, I think it helps me to remember even more of the material.
I have used this technique with my students – I require them to read a book for class and then do a final presentation that teaches their classmates one point from the book. It’s far more engaging and beneficial than having them attempt to cram 200 pages of content into a ten-minute monologue where no one remembers anything that was said.
Think about using the “one point” method when you are processing input. Whether you attend a class/workshop/lecture, read a book/an article/a blog, or partake in any learning opportunity, I believe you’ll get more out of it in the short term if you position yourself to use one piece of information in the long term.
[See dot #108 on how to apply your learning nuggets to meetings.]