If you ask any company looking for people to better perform in business–it‚Äôs all about experience.¬† Cue Terry Third Thursday. ¬†Experiential marketing has become a great teacher for me now in the year of the water dragon by Terry Talking every step of my way to performing better in the communications world.¬† Who knows whom you can meet? ¬†By looking to network with the University of Georgia alumni, I observed a tranquil setting on how performance matters.¬† Are you looking to perform better at your job?¬†Look no further.¬† ¬†“Three Keys to Expertise”¬†presented by¬†Paul G. Schemp as part of the 2012 Terry Third Thursday Speaker Series is here to help.

After a warm introduction and thanks to the Atlanta Business Chronicle and Bank of North Georgia sponsors, Dean Sumichrast issued in the story of Paul G. Schemp–a man whose¬†practical¬†wisdom has been gained¬†from¬†what he has observed,¬†encountered, and undergone in developing his own expertise. ¬†Paul G. Schemp, distinguished scholar by the International Center for Performance Excellence at West Virginia University,¬†is an expert on expertise. ¬†He has dedicated his professional life to understanding what it takes to be an expert performer.¬† As a research professor and the Director of the Sports Instution Research Laboratory at the University of Georgia, he has spent over a decade conducting award winning research into the characteristics and development of expertise.¬† In this executive seminar, Paul described three keys in order to perform better and become an expert.

1.   Gain Experience 

No one is born an expert.  Experience is a rich source of practical knowledge that you cannot get without time.  Learn what works and doesn’t.  Understand your environment and identify and develop requisite skills.  Look at your handwriting.  Has it gotten better since you first learned to write?  Most likely your handwriting has been the same since you first learned how to write.  In this interactive situation, Paul performed a numbers of exercises to engage the audience:

  • What did I do well?
  • What can I improve?
  • How do I improve?

2.  Increase Knowledge

On a scale of 1 to 10, write how much you think you know about your specific industry.  In a recent study by Paul, novices said they wrote down 8.5.  Experts wrote down 4.5.  When you think you know everything, how do you actually learn?  Objectives are what makes the biggest difference.  Be honest with yourself.  What don’t I know and what is critical that I know better?  Paul conducted a rank order exercise by asking us which words we thought were most important in increasing knowledge: read, clients, peers, experience, and workshops/seminars/training.  The results of the study showed experience, peers, clients, training, and reading in descending order of importance.  All experience is an arch, to build upon.

3.  Develop Skills

It can take¬†10,000 hours¬†to obtain expertise in something found by studies such as Malcolm Gladwell or¬†Matthew Syed. You need to identify skills to increase performance.¬† Self-monitor and measure your own performance.¬† Deliberate practice for your skills in order to master skills.¬† Ask yourself “Am I a planner, problem solver, listener,¬†communicator, organizer, or decision-maker?” ¬†Focus on one of these and perform well at it. ¬†Finally, The coolest thing I saw Paul pull out of his¬†magic¬†trick bag of exercises was when he pulled money out of thin air. ¬† “Grip, hold, flip, and pinch. ¬†Anyone¬†can be an expert at this with just a thumb and forefinger, a cupped hand, and sly release,” says Paul.¬† Understand, practice, and execute your skills.

Final thought:¬† “You Can Practice the Way You Think.”-Paul G. Schemp

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