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Creating a Learning Agenda

Posted By: Randy GageFebruary 27, 2018

So on yesterday’s post, we looked at the benefit of creating a learning agenda, instead of simply trying to fill a gap in skills.  So what does that look like and how do you do it?

Let me share how I practice this program.

I’m all for improving my faults and weaknesses.  But I don’t want to do it at the expense of improving my strengths.  Because eight times out of ten, you will actually get superior results by spending that time and/or effort increasing action in the areas you’re already great in.

It’s certainly not the case in every situation.  But most of the time, you will get a better end result by increasing effort in the areas you already crush in, than focusing on trying to bring all your skills up to balance.

Example: I have a gift for connecting with people in my blog, books, and on the platform.  But I want to have a bigger impact and reach more people across the globe.  So I can work on a performance achievement plan, like getting my books translated into other languages.  I could have some of my most-liked quotes translated and put on slides.  Some of my videos could be subtitled.  (I’ve actually done all that with good results.)

But imagine the difference if I could speak direct to more people in their native language.  So I created a learning agenda to become fluent in different languages, beginning with Spanish.

I bought a Rosetta Stone course and began lessons.  Next I discovered the DuoLingo app and switched over to that.  Learning a language requires daily practice.  So my learning agenda became doing at least two lessons a day in the app, reading Spanish blogs, and watching some Spanish YouTube videos.  I go to more places I can practice my Spanish, and 30% of my workout playlists are now Dandy Yankee, Marc Anthony, Enrique Iglesias, and Wisin.  My default radio station is now Pitbull’s Globalization on SiriusXM, which is a steady diet of Spanglish.

So far I’m 70% fluent in Spanish.  So not only am I able to better communicate with millions of people, but I’ve also developed a skill that enriches my life in many other ways.

Other examples: I realized that to be a world-class communicator today, I needed to become fluent in social media.  So I set a learning agenda and did that.  (And am continuing on this.)  This is the same sort of process I’ve used for becoming a writer, playing softball, and numerous other areas.

So rather than just setting a specific goal to accomplish – what about if you created a learning agenda for developing yourself in an area?

Suppose your boss told you that you have to address 300 people and you’ve never given a speech before.  You could concentrate on the goal of delivering that speech effectively, and not messing it up.  Nothing wrong with that goal.  Or you could create a learning agenda on how to become a rock star presenter.

So a learning agenda to become a rock star presenter might look something like this:

  • Join a Toastmasters group.
  • Commit to making two formal presentations every month and find a mentor who would agree to critique them.
  • Start attending meetings at your local chapter of the National Speakers Association.
  • Watch one video of a great speech every week on YouTube and analyze it for lessons you can apply.
  • Read one book a month on presentation skills.
  • Study comedians, magicians, and musicians for platform skills that you can apply as a speaker.

Now you certainly will achieve your goal, which is to deliver an effective speech as your boss desires.  But you’d also be developing a powerful new skill that will help you in your current job, your future jobs, and many other areas of your life.

What do you think about the idea of learning agendas?  Please share your thoughts below.  And tomorrow we’ll explore some other benefits they can provide you.

- RG

4 comments on “Creating a Learning Agenda”

  1. Excellent advice as always Randy. Presenting is one of the best examples as so many people "have" to do it as part of their work and you will be aware that most people who join Toastmasters do for the reason you gave above (or they have been asked to be best man at a mate's wedding) hence why they tend to miss the point and use Toastmasters for only 5 or 6 speeches.

    When did "not finishing what you started" become acceptable?

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  • 4 comments on “Creating a Learning Agenda”

    1. Excellent advice as always Randy. Presenting is one of the best examples as so many people "have" to do it as part of their work and you will be aware that most people who join Toastmasters do for the reason you gave above (or they have been asked to be best man at a mate's wedding) hence why they tend to miss the point and use Toastmasters for only 5 or 6 speeches.

      When did "not finishing what you started" become acceptable?

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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