“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.]

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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