The 4 Key Learning Styles and How You Can Use Them to Learn, Teach and Grow Your Business
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Emerging entrepreneurs know there will be many roadblocks, speed bumps and learning curbs on the winding road to startup success. Each failure is a learning experience and each learning experience is a strategic investment in your company's productivity and profitability. The business strategies you develop will not only be unique to your business goals, but also your vision for the company and its mission.
Throughout your education, you may have discovered your unique learning styles and how to best approach information and data. Many people blend these modalities together to form their own unique approaches for learning in the boardroom.
But, what if you applied the way you learn to the way you approach your developing business? Since creating a new business is partially about maximizing brain power, new entrepreneurs can enhance their business propositions by utilizing the learning modalities that fit them. Here's how.
The visual learner
A visual learner implements learning techniques that help them understand and retain information with words, concepts and ideas that are associated with images. Visual learning styles mean that people may use a mixture of photographic memory, spatial awareness, color/tone/brightness contrasts and other visual information to learn. Research shows that many students in ordinary classrooms need to see information to understand and learn from it. In fact, resources show that 65 percent of the population are visual learners.
Tips to utilize for business: As a business leader, engage yourself by telling a story. Paint a picture or a visual map of how you will achieve your business goals. For example, if you want to leverage capital by a specific date, draw a map of how you will do that by including visuals of all the items or information you will need. In addition, if you want to appeal to other business leaders, try presenting the information you have learned about your industry in a visual presentation or SlideShare.
As you learn information about developing your business, try to utilize videos and infographics, too. As the majority of people learn this way, branded video content and visual representations of data can help you quantify your market and learn what attracts consumers to your company in the process.
Aural, or auditory, learners maximize information best when they hear sound, rhythm and music. Making up roughly 30 percent of the population, these learners love listening to information and thrive in meetings, group projects and networking events.
Oral presentations can significantly assist business leaders with this tendency. Although visual tools may not always help aural learners, infographics or video tools in conjunction with sound may help them gain insight into business approaches or lessons. In addition, creating original lyrics, or rhymes to music can help you retain the information you need to know better and faster.
Keep in mind, however, that aural learners need to repeat the information they learned to fully grasp it.
Tips to utilize for business: If you want to learn new information, it's best to have direct communication with coworkers, investors and mentors. When you talk with investors or network with industry professionals, you may want to meet them in person or over video chat and use dictation tools to listen to emails or important documents.
In many fields, personal voice assistants help direct and guide users as they undergo professional tasks. In the future, personal voice assistants can help aural learners assess more online content and resources. The play-and-repeat mode will be highly effective for these leaders to accurately obtain information.
Verbal learners acquire information through speech, reading and writing. Many verbal learners combine visual practices in order to assess information. Written outlines help you view and speak about the knowledge you need to share with others. These types of learners often work solitary and make some of the best researchers; a key component to starting your own venture.
Tips to utilize for business: Scripting and mnemonics are useful tools for remembering information about specific topics, data or even other industry professionals. However, information needs to be structured, chronological and often feature a situation or response. Rhyme, reason and rhythm are key verbal tactics that can help you learn about business topics in a more timely framework.
In addition, role-playing techniques can also teach you how to negotiate, sell or relate to others. Try practicing these approaches with your Director of Marketing or CFO; they may have some insightful approaches to help you expand upon these business tactics.
The kinesthetic learner, or tactile learner, learns best by engaging in activities. Generally, they use their body and sense of touch to approach information. Ample space may be needed for these learners to move around while they take in data and information. This learning modality is less frequent; only 5 percent of the population learn this way. But, remember that these types of learners are not trying to be rude if they fidget while they listen to you. When blended with visual or auditory approaches, these types of individuals make great business leaders since so much of the job requires action and attention.
Tips to utilize for business: Kinesthetic learners need safe, calm environments to grow, which might seem counterintuitive since business is often risky and challenging. However, leaders can implement this type of learning technique into their everyday office environments. Centering your work culture around frequent group activities that include respect, transparency and inclusivity can build a positive team dynamic that fuels this learning style.
Writing and drawing are physical acts, and often, this modality can go hand-in-hand with verbal learning techniques. In turn, physical, hands-on activities at work can help kinesthetic learners assess the next approach of a business. These leaders might want to set the innovation pace at their company by experimenting with building databases or new products that will help them streamline their process. They may especially make for good mentors because they can physically show their employees how to handle certain activities.
Implementing digital simulations into leadership and mentorship approaches at work can really help business leaders focus on the company's trajectory and new market trends while helping their employees to visualize and gain more experience with data.
If leaders want to memorize information, flashcards can help them since they're physical objects. Implementing physical tools while talking or assessing information can help kinesthetic entrepreneurs understand concepts with ease.
Blended learning in the boardroom
Everyone learns differently, but using a blend of techniques for several of these learning traits can help create a fully rounded business strategy. Many entrepreneurs utilize techniques from each of these learning backgrounds to function every day. In 2015, roughly 77 percent of businesses incorporated blended learning tools to help build experiential and personalized training for higher ups and their employees in both social and intrapersonal ways.
Once you start building the patterns and focus on utilizing the tools to implement these techniques within your business structure, you can build a more communicative, productive and team-friendly workplace and strategy.
Continued knowledge will always have a practical application in business, no matter the industry. It's the type of leaders who know how they learn, what inspires them and how they can stay proactive while assessing new information that will stay ahead of the pack.
Now that we have more digital tools to help us learn even quicker, the race on the roadway of learning is on. In the future, new developments promise to create a more dynamic and educated world and as learners and creators, we'll need to suit up and go on an odyssey of the mind.