After reading a good book on business or self-improvement, if you simply put it down and say “that was a good read,” you may as well have read a novel. Reading a book is one thing. But to incorporate what you’ve read into your life, you’ll need to take it a step further and actually study the material. So, what to do?
Obviously, re-reading a book does not constitute study. If you want to apply more of what you read, you must first make it a priority in your life. Many good study techniques are out there (and you should use whatever ones work best for you), but here are just a few to consider:
1. Using a legal pad, summarize in your own words the key points that stick out to you from each chapter. Then identify a few situations in which you can act on what you want to do.
2. Talk with a trusted friend about what you’re reading, and what you would like to do. As you start trying new things, engage that person in dialog about what you find is working and what’s not working.
3. It seems simple, but good old-fashioned flash cards drive learning deep into our memory. Creating flash cards and going through them several times a day can build a new way of looking at things.
Whatever study method works best for you, do it. Reading is good, but you can read a thousand books and not gain much. It’s studying what you read that will make the difference.
Dan Bobinski is a training specialist, author, and an accomplished keynote speaker. He’s been the president of Leadership Development, Inc., providing workforce and management training to Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller, regional concerns for more than 18 years. As the CEO and director for the Center for Workplace Excellence, Dan’s focus is almost exclusively on The Manager as Trainer and Train the Trainer classes. He’s a strong advocate that managers and leaders function much better in their roles when they learn to think like trainers. Dan is the author of several books, including “Living Toad Free” and “A Strategic View of Screening and Retaining Good Employees”. www.workplace-excellence.com