How to Develop a New Skill, Fast!

We live, work and operate in an age where the skills development is a sine qua non ability for our advancement in our personal and professional life. Moreover, our ability to learn new things, to use them in our everyday life and to, quick, forget them (when our knowledge and skills are not longer valid), is one of the main features of our new knowledge economy.

How to develop a new skill, fast

It is easy to develop a new skill, and if yes what’s required? Skills development can be fun or require too much effort?

For this reason, it is very important to have a way for quick and efficient skills development, which would permit us, the effortless adaptation to the new conditions and an efficient decision making either in personal or professional level.

Skills development is not that difficult. But it needs time and dedication to prove its results. Let’s see how!

Skills development in 4 easy steps

    1. Develop a vision for yourself WITH the skill you want to acquire [Vision of you in the next day having the skill you want to get. Visualize with every possible detail, what you would feel, sense, behave, etc. when you have the new skill]. For this, you should:
      • State your intentions in relation to the skill you want to acquire (clearly and in written form)
      • Write required the output for the skill development you want to achieve, in every detail
      • [Optional] Write your justification and your reasons for selecting the specific skill (that would strengthen your determination in relation to the specific skill). The required skills development can be expressed either in a positive or negative way.
      • Write a small vision statement [combine the above elements in the form: I want to … because (express in a positive mode)… and …].

2. Design your course of action

      • Set S.M.A.R.T. goals
      • Develop your preferred path and design measurable results (for later benchmarking!!!)
      • Design the strategy to be followed and the tactics
      • Set the landmarks you feel it is necessary to be kept and check them against your quantified specs

3. Implement the activities you design

      • Commit in daily implementation
      • Organize required activities
      • Discipline in the implementation
      • Fine tuning of actions
      • Practice all the time you new skill
      • Convert daily activities in habits

4. Review – Evaluate

      • Modify your course of action if needed
      • Maintain and keep the new skill in the optimal state

A Small Case Study: Develop Touch Typing Skills

1. Vision Development

  • Statement of Vision: I want to learn touch typing.
  • Write the Why: I don’t want any physical obstacles or delays when I write [or programming, or thinking or taking notes, etc.]
  • Required output: I want to be able to practice touch typing, in all and every interaction with computers
  • Vision Statement: I want to learn touch typing, because I want to be able to practice touch typing, in all and every interaction with computers and (I don’t want any physical obstacles or delays when I write [or programming, or thinking or taking notes, etc.]) in computer.

2. Strategy & course of action

  • S.M.A.R.T. Goals (in written form)
    • I want to apply touch typing in the 80% of my activities in the computer in 2 months, starting from [DATE: <Set the date>]. I would like to raise the percentage in 100% at the end of 3rd month, starting from [DATE: <Set the date>] – [FULL IMPLEMENTATION PHASE!!!]
    • After 3 months, all my related activities in the computer would based in touch typing in a percentage of 98%[!!!]
    • I want to be able to write 50 wpm (words per minute) by the end of 2nd month, starting from [DATE: ]. I would like to reach the 90 wpm after 5 months, starting [DATE: ]
    • As basic progress index, I would use the wpm (words per minute) to check my progress and the application [AAAAA], that can measure and track mine wpm ratio.
    • My basic strategy for achieving this goal is to write every day, using as much possible touch typing and correcting later on the mistakes I have made. I gradually would raise the daily number of words and I would try to do all the necessary actions in the computer, without look on the keyboard.
    • Every day I would monitoring and tracking the wpm ratio with the application I have chosen and I keep a log with my results and of my progress
    • If on the end of the second month I have not reach to the required ration, I would double my efforts!!! in order to overcome the lapse within 2 or 3 weeks.

3. Implementation

  • [Commitment]: Every day I write to my computer, using touch typing and following the strategies and course of action I have decided.>
  • [Organization]: I would practice touch typing for at least 2 hours every day while I would try to use it in everything I do in my computer, even if it slower me down, a bit
  • [Discipline]: I would keep this course of action [EVERY DAY] for at least 2 hours a day
  • [Fine tuning]: If by the end of 2nd month, I have not reached the specified WPM ration, I would raise the touch typing practicing sessions from 1X2 hours to 2X2 hours, until I reach the specified level of performance
  • [Practice]: I use touch typing in every activity in my computer


4. Review – Evaluate – Modify your course of actions

After the end of the process, I would review and evaluate the activities I used and I would try to extrapolate them in a larger framework [if possible], while I try to find out where I have mistaken in the process (in case the process didn’t give the required results).

If the process have not succeed I would repeated it, try to fix all the errors I have observed. If it is successful, I would try to maintain and enhanced my new skill or ability (for instance in the case of touch typing, I would try in different keyboards, laptop keyboards, etc., if it is for learning a foreign language I would pursue to read books in that language, to listen to music or/and lectures provided in that language, to see movies from that country, etc)

Do you think, the above how to would be useful for you when try to develop a new skill? Do you believe, these knowledge, can help you in developing more easily a new ability, or not. Do you find it useful, or not? Please comment on the small how-to in skills development.

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    Takis Athanassiou is an IT Consultant, Blogger, Trainer & Writer, active in the areas of leadership, business consulting, e-Learning and social media. He aims at the development of people, business and assets! You can check out his blog, add him in Google+ and follow him on Twitter.

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