What’s the secret to effective learning? That’s a question that educators, teachers, professors, researchers, and the Armed Forces have been asking for as long as there have been educators, teachers, professors, researchers and so on.

It seems obvious that trying hard would be key to successful learning, doesn’t it? Surely the more effort you put into learning the better the result.

That’s just common sense. Well, it turns out that, in this case, common sense may be wrong. A recent study by a group of neuroscientists from the University of California, the University of Pennsylvania, and Johns Hopkins University found that the less you work your brain when learning, perhaps, the better. The researchers studied subjects learning a simple game over a six-week period. Those who used the part of the brain least associated with conscious planning, the frontal cortex, did the best. It’s better, it turns out, just to practice and not over-think what you’re doing. You learn faster. Wax on, wax off, as the master said. Let go of the outcome and just focus on the journey.

The results were published in the journal Nature Neuroscience recently, and one of the researchers noted, “It’s the people who can turn off the communication to these parts of their brain (the frontal cortex) the quickest who have the steepest drop-off in their completion times. It seems like those other parts are getting in the way for the slower learners. It’s almost like they’re trying too hard.”

We’ve taken these counter-intuitive insights to heart as we’ve developed our own online training course for creating better presentations, and I’m pleased to say that the results are soon to be unleashed upon an (unsuspecting) world. We’ve created a course that’s easy to use – especially if you don’t try too hard – and full of entertaining videos, infographics, and other devices to help you enjoy the journey and let go of the outcome.

But the outcome is very important, so of course we’re not really letting it go. It is to reveal the secrets of creating a great speech or presentation to you – exactly as I would one of our clients if we were face to face.

Through the mixture of video and text we give you as close to an in-person experience as we can. The one thing I’m certain of is that if you take the course you will be able to create a better presentation. To any readers of this blog, I offer in addition to answer any questions that come up during your taking of the course. Just fire them off to me via our website: http://publicwords.com. And I’ll get to them as fast as I can.

The journey of discovery that led to the creation of this first online course has been a fun, wonderful experience. We’ve worked with a great partner, Choose Growth, and all of us hope that Presentation Prep: 10 Steps to Persuasive Storytelling is as useful to you to work through as it has been rewarding for us to create.

Presentation Prep: 10 Steps to Persuasive Storytelling will launch early in June. Watch this space.

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