by Ryan H. Law
As financial advisors we have a lot of things to remember – whether it is studying for (and remembering information for) a licensing exam, or attending a CE where we are learning more about estate planning, or asset allocation, or communication.
There is an old saying that says, “If you can’t teach something to someone else, you don’t truly understand it.”
This idea is really simple – you can remember things by teaching them to others.
People often ask me how I know so much about student loans. I needed to understand student loans to help students, so I studied the subject in depth, I wrote a book about student loans, I teach about student loans in class several times each semester, and I talk about student loans in presentations.
I teach about student loans so often that I understand them. I can talk about types of loans, repayment plans, forgiveness, default, and more with no notice. In-depth study plus teaching about student loans to others has created mastery in this subject.
So how does this apply to you? If you are studying for the CFP, for example, you aren’t going to study each subject, write a book about it, and speak about it.
You will get similar results if you use the method described by Dr. Michael L. Jones in The Overnight Student. Dr. Jones tells the story about how he flunked out of college twice, then came back as a straight A student because of a simple technique he learned.
He would study a small portion of a subject, then stand up and while walking around, teach to an imaginary class using his own words.
If he got stuck, he would study his notes again, then start over.
I practiced it with the content for this article (based on my quick read of Dr. Jones’ book), and I can tell you that it works. I was able to remember the information at a much higher level because I taught it to the wall. Does it feel silly? Sure. Did I care? No. I would rather feel a little silly and have increased comprehension.
In fact, Dr. Jones says we remember over 90% of what we teach.
If you are studying for a licensing exam, or attending a CE lecture on estate planning, take good notes, then practice teaching that concept to the wall. I guarantee that your comprehension will increase.
- Practice this technique right now. Stand up and teach what you just learned in this article to the wall.
REFERENCES AND RESOURCES
Dr. Jones book The Overnight Student tells his story, how he learned to take notes, and how he developed the technique of teaching to the wall, and he does it in less than 50 pages. Copies on Amazon run more than $100, but it is available for free online. Click here to access the PDF. I highly recommend you read it, and pass along a copy to students and colleagues who would benefit from it.
Images in this post, except the book The Overnight Student, are licensed by Ingram Image – Stock Photo Secrets (AFF).