Networking : Learning from Experience


Teachers Are Everywhere

Before I even started school, I wanted to be a teacher. I am not sure why.  I remember from an early age arranging the kitchen chairs in rows and gathering my toys and the girl next door to set up my very own classroom. I’d stand up the front ‘teaching’ from my blackboard. I always loved to read and draw and still to this day; I love to paint and create. When someone asked me “What do you want to be when you grow up?” the answer was always ‘a teacher’.

I love learning. I have always preferred to learn from hands-on experiences, talking with others in a face-to-face workshop situation, rather than from a text book or an online course. I am very much a visual learner. If I have to read extensive notes, I get lost and often find it more difficult to comprehend. Show me a diagram, or ask me to put together an Ikea item, no worries!

As a secondary school student studying 18th century European History was harder for me to digest than reading a topographical map in geography. I enjoyed practical experiences, discussions or reviews of artwork or movies, and  was far more interested in learning how to create a painting, weave a scarf, put on a drama performance, debate an issue or present a project.  Today I enjoy guided tours at the gallery, and when travelling overseas, the background stories and people I meet fascinate me and enrich the experience.

We are All Individual

It is so important to realise we are all individual. We all have our individual learning styles. When I prepare a talk or presentation I take the different styles into account because the room is sure to have a mix of participants operating from each of the different styles: visual, auditory, kinaesthetic or verbal. If you do not understand the styles, I strongly recommend we have a chat or you do some research.

Online resources are helpful to access the opinions and knowledge of others.  I was particularly interested to read recently how others defined learning.

Tony Bingham, president and CEO of the Association for Talent Development (ATD) the world’s largest professional association dedicated to those who develop talent in organisations, and Marcia Conner, a SupporTED Mentor and a fellow at the Darden School of Business. I found their definition of learning is:

the transformative process of taking in information that—when internalized and mixed with what we have experienced—changes what we know and builds on what we do. It’s based on input, process, and reflection. It is what changes us.” (1)

So true. Each encounter changes us in some way throughout our lives. Think about it.

New and Differing Ideas

We meet our first teachers at birth and start learning from that moment. Helpless as a baby it is not long before we learn we can gain our parents’ attention if we cry loud enough. If we cry even louder we get more attention and get what we want , whether that is have pants changed and maybe a feed!

 As we grow we mirror the behaviour of those around us. You have seen how babies learn to smile, start to laugh, to talk by copying their parents. Our skills develop unconsciously and over time become automatic. We are introduced to new and differing ideas, acquire new skills and abilities. We learn ways to solve problems and learn how to generate ideas as we mature

There is a purpose behind our every behaviour.

We decide what to emulate or not, and build our knowledge based on our experiences nd observations. We try new things, fail, try again and again and again until we succeed. Or, we make decisions to attempt an alternative means of achieving our desired outcome.

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By exposing ourselves to diverse experiences and broader groups of people we learn to adapt physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually.  Our understanding of values, different perspectives and beliefs help to expand our world.

Conversations, knowledge and experience we access through others can influence our behaviour and choices. Opportunities (or lack of) can play a big part in who we become and the direction our lives will take.

Influenced By Others

I know that my view of the world has been influenced by my family, my education, career portfolio, travel and life experience. Those who surround me now, or have done in the past, have played a major role in who I am today.

We become more confident once we see that others have met challenges and found ways to succeed. Can you think of an occasion when you have been influenced to try something new by your peers? What did you learn from that experience?

 Fostering relationships strengthens our ability to learn about ourselves. We learn to adjust our behaviour. As we learn to identify individual differences we begin to understand and learn how to relate to others. Over time, we see how one person may react differently to another faced with the same situation. Personality, experience and knowledge determine the outcome.

 I recommend you read more to discover your individual style, and to understand how this impacts your relationships.

Professional and personal development insights, and the opportunity to learn and share knowledge, have always been key components of YTM events.  I believe there is enormous value in bringing together like-minded people who can not only leverage their relationships but also benefit from listening, discussing, and questioning each other.

The different approaches and perspectives create interesting conversations and sharing of reflections. Acquiring information provides opportunity to make informed decisions, even if that decision is to not make a change.

I know that I have benefited from the insights shared by over 80 speakers at YTM events, let alone the other workshops and seminars I have attended since starting my business. There is always something to learn.

The planning for 2019 is well underway for YTM and once again we will be offering both members, and non-menbers opportunities to help their businesses grow and to Learn Grow Achieve.

How do you like to learn? Let me know in the comments below.

This is an extract from Kerryn’s book, Two Ears One Mouth and a BIG Heart The Difference You Can Make due to be released early 2019. If you would like notification of its release please let us know and we will notify you. Send us a note HERE

Kerryn PowellComment