ADVENT 22: Read, Watch, Listen, Talk, Do

This is Day 22 of the Advent Calendar for 2015. Open more doors here >>

I maintained my edge by always being a student; you will always have something new to learn.” Jackie Joyner Kersee

Did you stop learning when you left school or university? No of course not. I bet you learn something new every single day. Sometimes you’ll do it on purpose, sometimes you’ll learn something through a conversation, thinking something through, reading something, experimentation or some other means. This kind of learning you have no control over and may not even realise that you’ve been learning something. With on purpose learning you are in control of what you are learning and can ensure that it’s something that will help you out.

I think that learning is exciting and essential. How can you get better if you don’t keep learning? Not just about your craft, but about people, the world, your hobbies, your audience, your interests… learning helps you to:

  • become better at what you do
  • become better at what you enjoy
  • become an expert at something
  • offer additional things
  • enjoy life more
  • understand people more
  • understand yourself moreF
  • Feeling of accomplishment

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The other day, in a Facebook group for Graphic Designers the question “are you into business development?” was asked. I responded by saying that I like to read business related books – but haven’t read many this year. Throughout the course of the week I kept thinking about this question and actually the answer is that YES, I am into business development, I love to learn. It is true that I haven’t read a lot of books this year when last year I read at least one a month – I’ll sort that out as I get more time to do so. Reading is not the only thing I do for business development. There are a lot of options available – here are some of them:

Read. This is my favourite. I have always loved reading. You can choose to read so many different things! There’s books of course, and there are so many on such a variety of topics. Here’s a video I did a while ago on books that I had read.

(Blog to go with the video)

Since making that video I’ve read (or started) quite a few more books – UnMarketing remains one of my favourites, and The Emyth was worth reading. I may have to do another blog post on that!

In addition to reading actual books, there is an abundance of ebooks available, some really inspiring and informative blogs, magazines, newspapers, journals and reports all of which can give you further insight into whatever it is that you want to read more about.

Watch. With video set to be a big deal in 2016 “the year when video becomes a primary content marketing consideration for all brands – even B2B” (Jay Baer, president, Convince & Convert) there is certain to be a video out there somewhere which addresses your particular topic. If not, then you could consider making one! Here’s a post with the 7 best TED talks for business tips on how to work smarter, which should appeal no matter what you do!

In addition to scouring YouTube and Vimeo for great stuff to watch and signing up for webinars, you could also follow some interesting people on Periscope and do some live learning there where you can also ask questions which may be answered at the same time. I find Periscope is great because it’s so easy to dip in and out of – if you have no idea what to watch and have five minutes you can skim down the available recordings and pick one with an interesting title and then you’ve got some content to dig into right away.

Another resource I really love is Creative Live. Creative Live is a live programme where an expert will talk on their chosen subject for a set amount of time – maybe over three days. It’s shown live with a recording playing in between live shows – as it takes place on the other side of the world to me the recording is what I usually watch. I’ve learnt about Pinterest from Melanie Duncan and Instagram from Sue Zimmerman as well as dipped into various others – just by watching Creative Live. It’s brilliant, and if you want to you can also buy the classes to watch anytime.

Of course, this doesn’t have to be virtual. Just the other week I spent a day learning about content marketing. In real life with real people. Leaving the office and learning in real life is even better because then there are more opportunities to interact with and learn from the people who are there.

Listen. This is not my preferred learning style being quite a visual person (although obviously listening in conjunction with the other ways is a very god idea!) – I’ll often listen to a video but if it’s worth it I’ll generally flick onto it to see the slides – however everyone is different so maybe this is your thing. The great thing about listening to learn is that you can do it while out and about with a set of headphones and your mobile (I’ve never liked headphones..) There’s audio books, podcasts and radio shows. Here’s the top business podcasts according to Hubspot to get you started.

Talk. This could be at a networking event or a seminar or a mastermind or maybe you might pay for a business coach to help you through your business, make it better and teach you new ways of doing things. Money well spent. Sometimes chatting through a problem with someone is all you need to get a new idea or learn something new.

Do. Doing stuff is one of the best ways to learn because you’re finding out what to do as you go and it helps to imprint it in your mind. Something that’s great to do is to join a Membership Site where there are loads of other people learning the same things – which is often a mix of reading, watching, listening and talking. I’ve learnt a lot of things this way. You don’t have to join one forever, you can usually leave whenever you like, but it can be really worth it. I’ve been part of a few, but the one I’ve stuck with the longest is the Female Entrepreur Association – check it out here – there’s a new bundle on a different topic every month and they’re great.

There’s no excuse not to keep learning, it’s something you’ll do by accident anyway so you may as well have control over some of it too and make sure you learn more about the things that you want to know about or will benefit you in your business. You always have something new to learn.

In the comments: How do you keep learning so you can become better at what you do?

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