5 keys to effective practice – so you can set the right example

by on September 8, 2010 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Smart supervisors know the power of example. If you want employees to excel at something, demonstrating that you excel is a great first step.

Of course, to excel you need to practice – whether your goal is to become a better public speaker or a better bowler. Human development expert Tony Schwartz lists five steps to effective practice:

1. Do it early. Performance researcher Anders Ericsson says top performers attack the difficult work of practice in the mornings, before they do anything else. That’s when most people have the most energy and the fewest distractions.

2. Do it intensely, without interruption, for short periods. Ninety minutes appears to be the maximum time that people can focus sharply on any activity. Schwartz says most great performers practice no more than four-and-a-half hours a day.

3. Get expert feedback, in modest doses. The simpler and more precise the feedback, the more useful it is, according to Schwartz. But too much feedback can overload you and interfere with learning. Feedback can take the form of personal training, mentoring, reading books by experts, or listening to audio.

4. Take regular renewal breaks. Relaxing after effort gives an opportunity to rejuvenate and “settle” what you’ve learned in your brain.

5. Ritualize it. Don’t depend on your willpower, which if you’re like most of us probably isn’t as strong as you’d like. The best way to lock in your practice is to ritualize it – build in “sacred” times at which you practice, so that you don’t have to decide before each session whether you’re going to do it or not.

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