There’s a graph called the Curve of Forgetting. With an arch and a squiggle, the sketch depicts the rate at which we forget, which, depending on which study you trust, is either quickly, orvery quickly. By some estimates, we forget 97% of the lessons we learn within seven days! And what lessons we do retain are marred by the loss of memory and essentially compromised.
As a business who barters in the intangible coinage of teaching and learning, these stats are very important to us here at The Mann Group. If our students leave Mann U or GEAR and forget 97% of what they learn within the first week, well, we’d have a problem—and a dysfunctional business—on our hands.
So we reiterate, again and again, techniques to help the lessons we preach stick. We’ve talked about the importance of role playing and practice, but there’s an even easier—and hopefully, even more obvious—technique for debunking those forgetfulness stats and retaining the lessons we (or others) teach: implementation.
Now, we know we said it’s obvious, but unfortunately it’s still not a common approach for many of our students. We get it, to an extent: you get home from a course and you’re exhausted; returning to work seems overwhelming, let alone implementing the new changes and skills you learned, so you procrastinate. And you procrastinate. And you procrastinate. And then, a week’s passed and most of those new skills you were excited to put to work just a week ago are dim and dusty or altogether gone, and all that time you spent learning them was wasted.
So yes, we get it—but we won’t stand for it. And neither should you.
In order to ensure the training you invest in is effective, it is integral that you implement it immediately.
It takes 21 days to create a habit. If you begin to implement your new skills the day you return to work, they will be uncompromised by the passing of time, and the habits you’re building will be sound. Yes, it may be difficult to rally yourself initially, but within just a few weeks those new skills won’t just be normal, they’ll be natural, as engrained into your daily approach as your old, bad habits were before.
Let us give you an example: After working with The Mann Group recently, an assistant manager returned to his position at a bike shop. He was working with a customer on a sale—not just any sale, but a $6,000 bike sale. As he expected, when it came time to make the purchase, the customer hesitated. In the past, the customer probably would have walked away, and the sale would have been lost. But the manager saw an opportunity to implement what he’d learned with The Mann Group. He’d practiced the steps to overcoming objections, and he knew them, it was just a matter of getting over the butterflies and implementing them in real life.
He did, and he sold the $6,000 bike.
What he presumably said to himself, and what we’ll say to you, is the same: there’s no reason to wait. Like so many things in life, it’s not easy—but no one ever said it would be. By returning to work and immediately implementing the new skills you acquired during your training, you ensure you don’t forget it or compromise it or shy away from it. The best practice of all isn’t even practice, it’s implementation.
About the Author:
As a freelance writer and editor, Emily has the luxury of being completely mobile—but there’s nowhere she’d rather be than right here in Asheville (though she’s on the road more often than not). You’ll find her work in a variety of publications around town and the country, as well as in our monthly newsletter. In her free time, Emily enjoys exploring the mountains and valleys around Asheville and the cocktail bars and restaurants within it.