Laurel and Associates, Ltd.

Laurel Learning Tips

Tip #678: Occam’s Razor at Home

On July 5, 2017, Posted by , In learning, By ,, , With Comments Off on Tip #678: Occam’s Razor at Home

“Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Albert Einstein

I hate the Woody Allen quote: “Those who can’t do, teach,” because that is definitely a myth. Yet unfortunately, I occasionally find that I ignore the principles that I know and teach others to follow!

Take, for instance, Occam’s razor. It is commonly understood that this principle means that if there are two or more explanations for an occurrence, the simpler one is usually best.

This “law of briefness” is more directly translated from William of Ockham’s Latin to mean: “More things should not be used than are necessary.”

“Razor” is used as a metaphor, indicating that unnecessary things (like hair that is too long) should be shaved off.… Read the rest

Tip #677: Getting Over Excel Phobia

On June 27, 2017, Posted by , In learning, By , , With Comments Off on Tip #677: Getting Over Excel Phobia

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

When I was in high school, I took a statistics class that, to this day, has left me in abject terror whenever I am faced with anything related to statistics.

Our teacher decided that since we were an “honors” class, the best way for us to learn statistics was to find the errors in a statistics book. It didn’t work, for obvious reasons. If you don’t know what you are supposed to be looking at, how can you tell if it’s wrong?

That teacher left the school … Read the rest

Tip #676:  Tips for Facilitating a Group

On June 20, 2017, Posted by , In communication, By , , With Comments Off on Tip #676:  Tips for Facilitating a Group

“The facilitator’s job is to support everyone to do their best thinking. To do this, the facilitator encourages full participation, promotes mutual understanding, and cultivates shared responsibility.”  Sam Kaner

Group facilitation requires patience and attention.

Here are 14 tips to keep in mind the next time you’re involved in facilitating a group:

1.   Help the members feel welcome [smile, shake hands, make sure all members know each other]

2.   Review the agenda and objectives for the session [put the agenda with time frames on a flip chart sheet for easy reference]

3.   Explain your role [to keep the discussion on time and on track- and ensure equal participation of all members

4.   Remind the members of the ground rules … Read the rest

Tip #675: Serendipity: A Fortunate Happenstance

On June 13, 2017, Posted by , In communication, By , With Comments Off on Tip #675: Serendipity: A Fortunate Happenstance

“A great attitude does much more than turn on the lights in our worlds; it seems to magically connect us to all sorts of serendipitous opportunities that were somehow absent before the change.” Earl Nightingale

A friend told me about a series of chance occurrences that together became a very fortunate happenstance. Her story brightened my day and I hope it brightens yours.

  1. Fortuity (a chance occurrence).

Two colleagues, A and B, meet at a conference.

  1. Geniality (a friendly and cheerful manner)

They enjoy a pleasant conversation.

  1. Invitation (a request for someone to go somewhere or do something)

Colleague A invites Colleague B to attend a meeting later that week.

  1. Reconnection (to meet or come into contact again after a
Read the rest

Tip #674:  Why Isn’t an Open Mind Enough?

On June 6, 2017, Posted by , In communication, By ,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #674:  Why Isn’t an Open Mind Enough?

“The success of our actions as change-makers does not depend on What we do or How we do it, but on the Inner Place from which we operate.” Bill O’Brien (paraphrased)

I have always thought that it was important to have an open mind- and prided myself on having one.

According to Z. Hereford, at http://www.essentiallifeskills.net/openmind.html, people who are open minded are: “willing to change their views when presented with new facts and evidence.” They are “more accepting of others,” “have fewer prejudices,” “are more open to change,” and “have better problem solving skills.”

Based on this description, an open mind seems to be a desirable characteristic for a lifelong learner and a change agent.

However, information I’ve received … Read the rest

Tip #673: Would You Like a Memory Trick?

On May 30, 2017, Posted by , In learning, By ,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #673: Would You Like a Memory Trick?

“Memory is more indelible than ink.” Anita Loos

I attended a webinar with Ida Shessel, who discussed five elements that increase the likelihood that a memory will be imprinted in the brain. She believes that we can boost learning retention if we incorporate some, if not all, of the following memory imprint elements:

  • Visual
  • Rare or unusual
  • Linked or associated to something
  • Movement (that enhances the visual)
  • Emotional

Ida demonstrated one very powerful way to do this through the link-method, which is an image-based technique for memorizing lists. It uses visualization and association to change abstract facts into mental pictures that are easy to remember. This works because most people’s brains can remember visual images (pictures) much easier than abstract … Read the rest