Challenge: Improve Your Vocabulary

Do you find yourself occasionally Google searching a word because you couldn’t remember whether it could be used the way that you’re thinking?

You might have heard that constant learning keeps you young. Learning new vocabulary or refreshing yourself on the use of some old ones is always great for exercising your brain.

What are some ways to learn new vocabulary to keep your mind sharp?

One way is to subscribe to journals or blogs related to your profession or topics that you have an interest in. Often you’ll run into new concepts or terminology. If the meaning of the word is not in the article, you can search for it online. Or you can bookmark industry-specific dictionaries that will give you the meaning of a word in the context of the industry. For example, this dictionary defines legal terms.

If you’re keen to expand your vocabulary, this site explains the meaning of commonly confused words and how to use the words correctly. For example, this article defines the meaning of effectiveness versus efficacy versus efficiency. Even if you know the meaning of words such as ocean, sea, and coast, you may be interested in the specific distinctions in how they are used, according to cartographers and hydrographers.

Knowledge can be very empowering, even if you are expanding your knowledge one word at a time.

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Why You Need a Mentor

Most learning experiences – including hour-long workshops to week-long conferences – teach you relevant lessons, but they may not give you the knowledge or skills you need to reach your goals. Having a mentor is advantageous when improving your career, business, or yourself.

You can sign up for webinars to learn new skills. But when the webinar is over, it is up to you to apply the lessons you learned. The downside of this approach is staying motivated over time and continuing to apply the skills you learned.

Another approach is to register for a course with live webinars and mentoring from the instructors and peers. As a result of the mentoring from this community, you may notice an immediate improvement in your learning experience for several reasons.

Learning is personalized

It’s easy to watch and observe while you’re learning something new. It’s easy to get excited about a new concept. But you don’t know if you’ve achieved true mastery of what you’ve learned until you apply it. Having a mentor personalizes your learning.

The interaction during a live webinar is motivating when you hear about how your peers apply the lessons and get positive results. You’ll feel like you’re on the right track and not alone in your journey toward self-improvement.

You have the opportunity to ask questions about your situation. Your mentor will give you feedback about your particular concerns and comment on your progress. With this type of learning, you’ll feel like your effort in the course mattered.

After each webinar, some courses allow you to meet with peers on platforms such as Discord to practice what you learned and discuss your opinions about learning points. These interactions with peers make you more accountable for your learning. You’ll want to be the next person with a success story to share with the group.

Opportunities to practice and improve skills

With most courses and webinars, you take notes, then shelve your notebook somewhere until you need to reference a point from one of the lessons. However, the best and safest way to implement what you’ve learned from a course is with practice. You can make mistakes without worrying about making mistakes.

A role-play to demonstrate the point of a lesson can be an effective way to get a message across to an audience. However, it is difficult to tell if you truly mastered the lesson’s objective by watching the sample role-play. For example, if you are learning to deal with a difficult work situation, you can watch a role-play of a conversation. When faced with a difficult situation at your workplace, however, you might not be able to follow the script from the demonstration.

When you are involved in role-playing during a practice session, you have the opportunity to try out a situation in a safe environment. If you make a mistake, you can try again. You can say, “pause” to stop and think about what you should say next, and then “resume” the role-play when you’re ready to continue. You can repeat this several times to figure out the best solution for the situation. (Something you can’t do in real life.) Audience members can also sub in as you switch roles and test out alternate endings for a scenario.

The practice sessions with peers are a valuable way to grow your skills. Most importantly, only by practicing do people realize what they don’t know.

Opportunities for feedback

Having a chance to practice what you learn and receive feedback from mentors is the best way to evaluate your learning. You have a safe environment to try out different scenarios and improve yourself. A mentor will tell you what you are and aren’t not doing well and provide suggestions that work for you.

For example, if you are learning how to be a more effective public speaker, your mentor could watch your presentation and provide you with feedback afterward. Your mentor might notice that you need to interact with your audience more. Instead of reading through a checklist of all the methods for improving speaker/audience interaction, your mentor could suggest tips that work specifically with your personality style.

Ongoing feedback is also critical to your self-improvement. In a live webinar course with role-play opportunities, you can role-play with peers during the course. After each session, you receive feedback on what you did well and what you need to improve. During subsequent sessions, you can review your notes on the feedback and apply them to your next role-play. Over time, you’ll notice a gradual improvement in your skills.

Chances to review and reflect

Group support and mentoring are very important in your learning and growth. When your peers talk about how the lessons have changed them, you realize that you are not the only one going through a period of transformation.

It is very motivating when a peer shares how he applied the lesson and achieved a great result with a client. You feel motivated to do the same. You can relate when a peer talks about how she feels she’s changed because of the course.

Mentorship is an effective way to learn. Your mentor is your guide as you develop new skills. Ongoing feedback from your teacher and the peers in your course allows you to learn at your own pace. The encouragement from your teacher-mentor and peer-mentors as you practice what you learn results in improved skills and knowledge.

If you are ready to learn from a mentor, you can follow these tips on finding the best mentor for you.