For over 10 years I worked in learning and development, creating courses and online training for multinational companies. Whilst doing that I learnt a lot about how people learn and how we hold and retain information.
There are many ways to give information but to give information which sticks and is remembered, now there's an art form.
As humans we all absorb information through our senses and we don't all absorb information in the same way, but why should you as an entrepreneur care?
Why should learning styles matter for a professional?
Because we're all in the business of giving and sharing information. Whether you think it or not every time you speak you're sharing information and if you don't know about learning styles you're probably getting incredibly frustrated because you have to repeat yourself over and over or because someone just doesn't get what you're trying to tell them.
It also works for yourself, if you've ever been told something and its not sunk in or you have a list of 10 things to buy and you never remember them all.
The information we receive can be communicated in different ways. Understanding your style can enable you to request information in a way which you find easy to understand and remember.
I love improving efficiency and also making life easy so learning styles is top of my list when it comes to helping people ease their frustrations.
The most common learning styles
There are many profiling tools out there from Belbin's team types to Myers Briggs but I like to use the following two. I chose these for you because we're not profiling teams in large companies, we want simple tools to help us understand ourselves better. These two are simple, quick tools and give you enough for your needs.
Before we get into these a quick few words of warning, I've seen these tools used many times to put people in boxes. This doesn't account for the complexities of being human. We are all neuroplastic, ie we're constantly learning, so I encourage an approach based on awareness and flexibility rather than labelling people. We all have the ability to access all of these styles, my question is always what would be helpful to you, rather than a rigid 'I'm an x'.
1) Honey and Mumford's Learning Styles. Based on the work of Kolb this approach breaks down learning styles into 4 areas. Pragmatist, Activist, Theorist and Reflector. Below highlights the characteristics for each of the areas. You can be more than one.
Pragmatist - These people like to see the real world application of something. Games and abstract scenarios don't work for them. They like to experiments, try it out and see if it works.
Activists - These people learn by doing. They need to get their hands dirty and have a non-biased approach to new things. They jump in with both feet and give themselves fully to the learning experience.
Theorist - These people like the models, concepts and facts. They need to see the theory behind the learning. They like to analyse, theorise and bring new learning into a new model or formula.
Reflector - These people like to step back and observe, they like to take in all the information before giving their thoughts and opinions. They like to look at all the perspectives and then contribute to the learning.
As you can see all of these have their benefits and all can be useful to aiding the ability to absorb and retain information. Perhaps think about which styles you are more comfortable with, ask yourself is this helpful for you. Also asking what other people prefer and aiming to give information in a style which they find easy. Understanding this can really improve your success.
2) VAK. This is an NLP technique I learnt many years ago and it's still one of my favourites. I use this with all my clients to understand how they think so I can deliver information in a way which matches them. This model breaks down into our 5 senses Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic, Olfactory and Gusfactory. I've excluded the O and G as we don't tend to lick and sniff things as our most used option in a business context.
Visual - what we absorb through our eyes. If this is your preferred sense when recalling a memory you'll see it like a picture. You'll use your hands when talking and also visualise images easily.
Auditory - what we absorb through our ears. If this is your preferred sense how something sounds will be important to you, you'll love words and how they sound. You'll have an attuned ear which picks up on the smallest sounds.
Kineasthetic - what we absorb through feeling. If this is your preferred sense you'll feel the atmosphere of the room, you'll wear your heart on your sleeve and how someone is feeling will really matter to you.
As with the previous model you can be more than one. Knowing your ability means you can use your strengths to receive information in your preferred style eg visual people need it written down, auditory need it spoken and kinaesthetic people need to feel it's right.
I explore learning styles when I work with clients so if you'd like to know more about your preferred balance and how this impacts your actions and communications, book a free Mindset Review today.
I hope this post has helped you to realise the importance of learning styles and given you two simple ones which you can get started with.
It's always nice to hear your findings, so feel free to share your style in the comments and lets continue the conversation.
Until next time
Your values are what makes you, you. They're your inner moral compass and let you know what's right and what's wrong. They can be very powerful and when you go against them it can negatively affect both your mental and physical health.
What I find is that most people don't know what they're values are.
So if you're finding yourself conflicted in your work, life or struggling with stress related illness maybe it's time you make sure you're not fighting your inner moral compass on a daily basis.
A previous client of mine put it so elequently:
"I reached the top level of my industry by never compromising my values. Regardless of if that meant losing out on additional income or financial growth. For me success without integrity isn’t success at all, it’s sacrifice." Lisa Holroyd
Any business problem, especially for solopreneurs or small teams reflects a personal challenge. When you're not right, the business isn't right and how can you feel right when you don't know what's important to you?
Many of my previous clients have pinned their values up on their notice board at work or on their fridge at home as a constant reminder to follow what's important to them, they find it makes decision making a lot easier.
It's also helpful to know you values in priority order as this can help you make those really tough decisions. For example if making one decision answered one value but making the opposite choice matched another, eg tell the person the truth or hold on to the respect for a colleague. Tough choice but if you knew that truth was higher on your values list, you'd feel more confident to make that choice. So a priority values list can really help you in many areas of your life.
I have a really nifty way of finding out the priority order of your values using unconscious strength testing. Here's a picture of a group doing it at a workshop last year. It's great because your unconscious knows the truth and you don't have to force yourself to decide.
Your values are fundamental to your happiness and it's always really interesting when you suddenly realise how people with different values affect your interactions and relationships. I also teach you how to increase your confidence whilst also respecting other people's values. If you suffer with self-doubt or imposter syndrome, this can be a life changing revelation.
In summary your values are in integral part of who you are, if you feel hurt by someone else's comments, find it hard to let go of particular conversations or feel at loggerheads with yourself, your values will be to blame.
If you'd like to find out what your values are, in a prioritised top ten list and learn how to respect others whilst keeping your values intact apply for the Refreshed Minds Mindset programme.
Mindset Programme - Apply Here
For now, notice when something hurts, notice what you get on your soapbox about or what you can't stand in others. All of these are clues as to what really matter to you and therefore to the values which you hold dear.
Until next time
A few weeks ago I delivered a talk to a wonderful group of ladies in Ilkley, the talks was titled, 'Brain Basics and How to Get What You Want.' I introduced them to Meta Programs and the impact these unconscious programs have on their actions and decisions on a daily basis. It was a roaring success, each of them went away with a new strategy which they knew would work for them, they absolutely loved it so I'm going to share the wonder of Meta Programs with you too.
What are Meta Programs?
NLP Meta programs (Neuro Linguistic Programming) determine which of your perceptions are selected for your attention. They are the key to the way you process information and impact every element of your actions, behaviour and decisions.
Each person has their own mix of meta programs and understanding both yours and other people's can unlock the art of effective communication and enable you to get much better results both personally and professionally.
Although most people will have a general preference when it comes to each Meta Program they aren't static. Each Meta Program works on a 'slider' with two opposing ends, everyone has the ability to utilise both, practising a particular approach would improve your ability and you may utilise a different approach for particular situations. That's what makes Meta Programs so interesting.
An example to get you started...
In this example one side of the Meta Program represents Same and the other represents Difference. Remember you can be anywhere along the line.
People who like 'Same' love routine, they like things to stay the same and they get flustered when things change. People who like 'Difference' love variety, they find change exhilarating and fun. Difference people get bored by routine and are always looking for new things to try.
Where would you plot yourself on this line? Do you love routine or thrive on trying new things?
This is just one of about 50 meta programs but it gives you an idea of what it's all about and gets you started.
The impact of Meta Programs
So what, I hear you ask. Well imagine you have a conversation and one person is 'Same' and the other is 'Difference', how is that conversation going to go?
Perhaps you have a small team and you want to announce some changes......perhaps now you understand why some people jump straight on board and others think it's the worst thing that has ever happened to them.
You will always enter a situation from your own Meta Program as will anyone else, so understanding them and learning how to maximise their potential can have amazing impacts on your ability to communicate, negotiate, influence and even sell.
Want to find out more of your Meta Programs?
I hope you've enjoyed that introduction to Meta Programs, if you'd like to find out more of yours and learn how to use them to get more of what you want join me on the Refreshed Minds Mindset Programme. Along with teaching you more about Meta Programs we can also find out what your Values are and also your Representational Systems too. Apply below
Until next time.
Growing up in the countryside I've always been an avid lover of nature but recently I've discovered studies which demonstrate it's health benefits far outweigh just that nice fuzzy feeling you get from the fresh air on your face.
This study from Japan’s Chiba University on 280 subjects in their 20s showed that just 30 minutes in the forest environment promoted lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity. In effect time spent amongst the trees made the subjects less amped, calming their fight or flight and boosting their rest and digest systems.
Trees can soothe the spirit too, in this study 498 healthy volunteers were studied for the psychological effects of forest bathing. The study found that being amongst the trees resulted in less hostility and depression.
Still not convinced? In 2009 Qing Li, a professor at Nippon Medical School found increased NK (natural killer) cell activity in the week after time spend in the forest, a benefit which lasted a month after each weekend in the woods. These NK cells are in the immune system and provide rapid-response to viral infected cells and tumor formation. Spending time in the trees can promote a healthy immune system and cancer prevention.
All of this research, and a personal love of nature is why when I decided to create a workshop to support entrepreneurs to reconnect with their true selves I chose to deliver the workshop in a woodland setting.
The Reconnect With You Workshop
It is also the reason why I chose to build my office last year in the garden, amongst the trees. In the past I've rented office space in the city and also in a wellbeing centre but you just can't match the health benefits and calming feeling of being amongst nature.
The Refresh Shed
Need a healing, self-development day in the woods?
Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is to take a step back to think, to reconnect to what's important to you and to understand the way you think so you can be better equipped to deal with life's challenges. All the details for my next Reconnect With You workshops are below.
Make sure you get out amongst those trees and enjoy all the health benefits it brings for us busy entrepreneurs.
Until next time