If you are someone who struggles to explain things in a simple manner then this should help you.
If you want to learn something faster then this should help you.
(The above two statements are mutually exclusive)
I had to take a session on performance management today for our new joiners. Given I have myself just joined this organisation, I had to learn the process myself before I could explain it to others.
I wanted to keep it simple. And learn the process faster and in a way where my understanding is richer.
Sometime ago I read about the Feynman Technique which is named after the Nobel winning Theoretical physicist, Richard Feynman. He was called 'The Great Explainer'.
His technique is a mental model to learn by way of teaching. I decided to apply it to my learning.
Essentially, the Feynman Technique is this:
1. Identify the concept
Take a piece of paper and write the name of the concept.
2. Teach it to a child
If you can teach a concept to a child, you know your stuff.
Once you have written the name of the concept, Then note down everything you know about the topic. Each time you run into new sources of information, note it down.
The trick is to write it plainly and simply — so that a child can understand what you’re talking about.
When you do this, remember a few things:
Speak in plain terms: Children don’t understand jargons. So cut that out.
When we speak without jargon, we don't have to hide behind knowledge we don’t have. It saves us from hiding behind what we don't know.
Keep it Crisp: so that you have the attention of the child. If you had difficulty putting thoughts into your note, you surely have room to improve.
This step will help you unravel your understanding of the subject.
3. Identify knowledge gaps
This is the step where the real learning happens. What are you missing? What don’t you know? Highlight it. Go back and gain that knowledge.
4. Weave a story
Narrate your story. Put together your notes and help visualise.
Pretend to teach it to children of grade 5. That way, you’ll know where language stops being simple. Places where you stumble or get stuck indicate incomplete thought. Go to step 3.
While I didn't just learn, I enjoyed the process of learning. And to top that, got great feedback on the session. One person wrote to me "you explained in a simple manner. Will never forget this.."
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