Posts Tagged ‘feedback’

If you do one or two role plays in a class, is that enough practice to master a skill?  Probably not.  That’s often why students do well in the classroom but can’t transfer the same level of performance to the job.  But I haven’t seen any companies that try to quantify the amount of practice.  They might set aside a certain amount of time, but not the number of repetitions.

I recently read Vince Flynn’s new book the American Assassin where the main character becomes highly proficient with a pistol after 20,000 rounds.  That’s a very specific amount of practice and might be a good guideline for other that follow.  I know that if you’d like to break 70 on a golf course hitting 25,000 golf balls is about right.

By the way, here’s what it means to hit 25,000 golf balls.  The average bucket has 85 balls.  So it’s around 300 buckets which is roughly 300 hours.  But not over your lifetime but in a relatively short period of time like a single summer.

I’ve heard to master a presentation that professional speakers charge money for, takes about 200 times to work out all the bugs and get the timing right.

So how many cold calls does it take to learn how to cold call?  How many customer complaints does it take to master customer service?  How many orders do you need to enter to reach a high speed without error?

Once you know this number, you can then build it into your training and coaching plan.  You can always shorten the number of repetition with good instruction, coaching and feedback.

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I think most of us would agree that practice is the main element in becoming truly proficient at anything.  Think about anything you’re really good at.  How much practice time have you spent?

However, practice alone often won’t get you there.  Here’s my evidence.  Have you ever gone to a driving range and watched people hit golf balls.  The majority of those people will never really get much better and only about 1% will really get it and be able to shoot in the 70s.

A certain amount of the formula is aptitude especially for something physical.  As they say in basketball, we can teach you a jump shot but we can’t teach you to be tall. 

What’s missing is the coaching and a practice routing that puts you on the right track and gives you the feedback you need.  A lot of people can’t actually feel what’s happening on their backswing.  They might think they have a long slow backswing when it’s actually short and fast.

So if you translate this to business tasks like selling or presentations what does this mean?  The path to proficiency is practice with coaching and feedback. 

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