Business

We're not immune from the 'plateau effect'

Teaching yourself a new skill can raise your knowledge and abilities to new levels

WE all learn a lot in our jobs, teaching ourselves new skills every day just by working.

But rarely are we immune to the ‘plateau effect' – the diminishing returns from once effective measures over time.

This applies at the entry level of the profession, but also after each sideways step or promotion. There's a steep curve, then we level out.

How can you get past the plateau and once again become better at your role? The answer is to set aside time for education and focused practice. Instead of just bulldozing your way through the daily workload, take a step back, look at the way you do things and really assess it.

Marketing is a broader field than ever before – and is expanding as quickly as communications technology – so there's always plenty to learn that can make you more effective.

A B2B marketer who gains a greater understanding of B2C could learn valuable lessons for their own sphere, or discover a path to their next career move.

A marketer from a more creative background could learn a lot about getting more views on their content with a course on analytics.

When you know what to learn, you have to figure out how to learn it. A training course or qualification is often the best approach, but teaching yourself can also raise your knowledge and abilities to new levels. Whichever you choose, consider the following:

1 Come up with a goal and write it down. This should not be what you want to learn, but what you want to achieve with that new knowledge or skill. For example, if you want to build better relationships with your agencies, working on people management skills will help you to solve this.

2 Find the right educational resources to help you gain skills to achieve that goal. The resources might be free eBooks and guides on topics from content to Youtube marketing, a video, a podcast or instruction from an expert acquaintance.

3 Set aside specific education hours. If you're just learning ‘when you get a minute', it's all too easy to let it slide.

4 If you're teaching yourself, go beyond passive reading or watching. Make notes on everything so that you can refer back to it in the future.

5 Practice your new skill. It's essential to mastering and maintaining what you have learned. You might get the chance to do this at work, but if it's in preparation for a different aspect of your marketing career then it's good to do this in your own time. Volunteer or take on special projects in your workplace.

CIM's new Digital level 6 may well be the answer for those in traditional roles, who need to update their skills. Available in Belfast, Newry and the north west via CIM accredited study centres, take a look and see if it is an option. Whatever you do, push past the plateau to new opportunities.

:: Carol Magill is CIM network manager for Ireland

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