Be a Little Crazy – Talk to Yourself!
One of the best ways to retain information, or for that matter to learn it in the first place, is to talk to yourself. Say it out loud.
Don’t worry, nobody will take you away with a net, I promise. Well, they haven’t taken me so far, and I have been talking to myself – and answering myself – for years. I did this all the time at university, too. I would pace and explain things aloud, sometimes while looking at textbooks or notes; other times just running through things in my head. I’ve even done it outside while walking. For example, to get to my networking group I have a 35 to 40 minute walk. Along the way, I have the opportunity to “talk out” a new blog, a method I could use with a particular student, a speech I need to present, etc.
You will be surprised at how much more you gain by saying things out loud.
First of all, by talking to yourself, you increase your focus. Not only are you looking at a text or thinking about a particular topic, but you are explaining the facts or concepts to yourself.
Also, you are using visual, oral, and aural modalities to learn the material.
As mentioned earlier, I often pace when I am thinking and talking about something, so there could be a physical component involved, too.
Being able to formulate answers or explanations lets you experience the material in a different way. If you can describe concepts or connections, you will know how to answer questions more fully. As you discuss the material, you can quickly restart, rehash, tweak, and introduce potential new ideas. In other words, it can include a trial and error piece, testing out how all the thoughts will come together (or not).
You can even pretend you are explaining the ideas to a classmate or friend. (Of course, you can actually do this, but then you are no longer talking to yourself. There are times when chatting with others makes perfect sense, too.) The advantage of talking to yourself is that you can work things out in your own mind without interruption from others or judgements that might unnecessarily take you away from your own inventiveness.
You can use this method to add to your notes as well. As you strengthen your understanding, you can clarify, add too, or alter notes to have as reminders for later study.
Remember that the more modalities you employ and the more network connections you can make – the better!
So don’t be afraid to ask yourself questions and answer them aloud, too. It does not mean you are crazy. It means you are smart!
Talk to yourself, you might be surprised at just how interesting you really are.
Be Crazy! Talk to Yourself.