Somehow, we are ready to turn the page on the year’s fourth month. How does time seem to speed by so quickly?
One thing for sure is that summer will be here before we know it, and this year, we get to vacation again, which means many of us are wondering how to get our two-year Covid bodies ready for the beach.
Summer will be here before we know it, but as we work on losing those pandemic pounds, it is also a great time to think about working on gaining more skills and knowledge. The best approaches to physical training can be applied to learning or enhancing your abilities.
The unfortunate reality is that the pandemic has been the cause of many job losses. What seemed temporary for some has become permanent, in some cases by choice, as some have sought more life than work or starting a whole new career.
For some of us, this has meant taking on new roles and responsibilities
If you are lucky enough to have meaningful employment today, you can probably see the need to up your knowledge and skills (and thereby your value to an organization.) If you are one of the not-so-lucky ones, you may have unexpectedly found your resume somewhat lacking as you review job requirements for open positions.
Let’s make a pact. Let’s take the next 60 to 90 days to reshape our minds, sharpen our skills, and learn something new. We can use the season to work out our minds and anything else we need to exercise.
Four years ago, I took the first steps to create Casino Marketing Boot Camp. We didn’t stop working with clients on their marketing strategies and tactics. Still, we did see an opportunity to lean into one of our core values: educating and developing great casino marketers.
So, it is no surprise that we continually look for ways to share knowledge and skills. Opportunities for marketing training and development are at their most exciting and accessible points. Cultivating your marketing skillset should hold a permanent position on your list of to-dos. If you are a leader in your organization, you should be ensuring your team members have access to excellent training (along with an appropriate budget).
So, what can you tackle in one season? A lot!
You can tackle a lot in the next few months, AND you can fit it into your schedule regardless of how full it is. Like most fitness plans, it begins with a balanced but easy-to-follow plan.
First, Establish a Marketing Skills Baseline.
Whenever you start a fitness regimen, you record your weight and measurements for the areas you have identified as needing improvement. The same goes for your training.
If you have had a recent review, look at it once more and see if there were areas that needed improvement. If it has been some time since your last appraisal, ask your supervisor for an interim checkup. Ask your manager if there are areas that should be your focus.
Look around at the jobs others are doing, and ask yourself what they have that you do not. What skills you’re missing?
If you’ve taken on new responsibilities and are struggling, take a look at the skills you might need to succeed. Be honest with yourself and identify a skill or two that could use improvement. Then decide which skills will get you the furthest to your career goals.
Once you have completed an audit of your current skill level and have compared it against your goal, you’ve identified your baseline.
No one goes from 1 to 100 instantly. Setting a benchmark allows you to see your progression along the way. This measurement will also serve as motivation along the way.
Then, Choose the Marketing Skill to Work on First.
You’ll undoubtedly have a list of things you want to (or should) tackle, but you will want to pick the skill that will help you the most as your first project. Then, create a plan for addressing the rest of your list later. Trying to do too many things at once only slows you down.
Learning and training are not time for multitasking. Each week, I plan to tackle too many training pieces for myself, and then I manage not to get any of them done. When I focus on one opportunity, I can tackle that one before moving on to the next.
A few years ago, I wanted to learn how to be more proficient in recording and editing so I could self-produce our Drivetime Marketing podcast. While I am no expert, I can now record, edit, and publish my podcast with intros and outs.
Last year, I worked on editing videos for social. The first ones are a bit embarrassing now that I look at them with more experienced eyes, but I’m proud of them anyway because they opened the door to keep trying. I am not ready to become a movie producer, but I can post a video or two.
My next project is to get better at utilizing the information from Google Analytics to grow our presence. I also want to get better at Facebook ads (which I can’t seem to fall in love with, but I will, darn it!). I have a long list, but I know it will never get done if I do not pick the ONE thing for my focus.
Set an Appointment You Will Keep.
I cannot remember how many gym memberships or virtual workout subscriptions I have wasted because I was not “required” to go or attend, but a funny thing happened when I got a trainer. I cannot remember ever missing an appointment with him.
The same goes for your skills training. Set a regular day and time for this meeting with yourself. When co-workers see it blocked on your calendar, they will (hopefully) consider that when organizing meetings.
Having a partner will make you a little more accountable and will further encourage you to keep your appointment.
When we started developing the Casino Advertising Masterclass, my original intention was to automate it so that our students could work at their own pace. Yet, as we progressed through the pilot program and subsequent sessions, I have found setting these meetings with participants as a schedule of classes and group discussions has provided more than I ever thought to our students and us as trainers.
Because we know we serve a variety of learning styles, we will still roll out a few self-paced pieces of training this year.
Consider Front-loading Your Training Day.
Some fitness plans will recommend you to front-load your calories at breakfast so you will have a store of energy and the day ahead of you to burn off the calories. You want to find the time in the day that will give you the best intellectual return.
I am NOT a morning person, but this has worked for me. I try to schedule learning opportunities first thing in the morning when my mind is fresh and uncluttered and BEFORE I check emails. I think this gives me a blank canvas, and I can absorb so much more.
Similarly, I find I cannot write as well in the morning. I save that for later in the day. There’s something about having had time to talk to others or read insightful things that give me the spark I need.
When do you learn best? Mornings? Afternoons? Nights?
Play around with the parts of the day to see when you get the most benefit. Consider distractions and the locations you may be in at different times of the day and how well you can concentrate given the time of day.
Where Will You Work on Your Marketing Skills Training?
When working in your training, environments play a huge role in your success. Choose a spot with room for you to spread out but low on distractions. My office has a beautiful view of the garden. I love hummingbirds but cannot study there. Darryl Kammeyer would say, “Squirrel!”
I then tried to study in a comfy chair in my bedroom, where I would not be distracted, but I just could not get comfortable.
Since then, I’ve found the perfect formula to study and write from my office. I’ve set up a routine when I write to set my computer and my phone to Do Not Disturb. Then I have Alexa play white noise (city sounds) that seem to help me stay in the zone when I write and when I’m learning something new.
Additionally, you want to ensure you can adjust lighting and temperature.
Find the spot that works for you, whether it is a home office, the supply closet, Starbucks, a she-shed, or a man cave.
Select the Equipment You Will Need for Your Marketing Skills Training.
It seems like a given, but you should have the tools you will need close at hand. If you are a crazy note-taker like me, make sure you have a spare pen in case you run out of ink and have a good supply of notebooks.
If you are a dry-erase board person like Elissa Plastino, have a large enough board with thick and thin point markers in multiple colors to organize your thoughts.
Keep a poster board handy if you like to use Post-it Notes.
Many years ago, I started using Evernote to take notes during my calls with properties. Now I use them to organize blog posts (like this one), conference notes, and client calls. It allows me to organize my notes by client or project. Rather than flipping through pages in my notebook, I click on the appropriate notebook and shorten my search.
You may like Google Drive, OneNote, Dropbox Paper, or any number of digital filing systems. I recommend trying a few of them. Just make sure your notes are easily exported in case you decide to move to a different platform.
(Note: the link to Dropbox Paper is a referral link. If you sign up, I get more storage. I just thought you should know.)
Make Wise Diet Training Choices.
You heard me. We know extreme diets are not the best in the long run. You need to have a balance that is right for you. The same goes for learning.
There are several training settings from which you can choose. You may be the ultra-responsible one and can stick to a self-paced program. You may do better with a virtual classroom where you have access to the teacher and other students.
On the other hand, you may need a workshop or a hands-on environment like (shameless plug) Casino Marketing Boot Camp.
The point is that there are lots of ways to learn almost every topic you can imagine, but not all of them are a perfect fit for all learners. Try a few different types and figure out which diet – I mean type – you can stick to and be successful.
Change Up Your Training Routine.
Like exercise, no ONE thing will do the trick. I know. I’ve been doing situps all my life, and still no six-pack!
Fitness experts will tell you that you need to mix cardio with strength and mindfulness. When you’re trying to learn something new and be great at your job and your family, you have to learn how to balance them all. With each day, you can add a little more of one thing or the other until you have the right balance.
Enjoy a Well-earned Day of Rest
Burnout is real. Even world-class athletes will rest every once in a while. Taking a day of rest allows their muscles to recover and avoid burnout.
When you are learning something new, it can be a little overwhelming. Close your books or your laptop. Put your notebook in a drawer, and step away from it.
Your unconscious mind will have time to file all the new knowledge properly so you can access it most efficiently and effectively when you need it again.
It will prevent fatigue while improving your performance.
Run/Walk to the Your New Marketing Skills.
If you are like me, when you start learning something, you want to race to the end so you can know it all.
Consider beginner runners just starting their training. Most use a run/walk technique to build their endurance. However, even experienced runners will rely on this methodology because it aids them in increasing their endurance and reducing the risk of injury.
When you start learning something new, this technique might be valuable to you. We don’t know what we don’t know until we find ourselves at a roadblock without a way to get around.
Consider walking through your new training every once in a while, checking for understanding. If you discover issues during these slow times, you will be able to correct them and sprint through the following phases.
Put One Foot In Front of the Other.
Learning something new or improving a skill you thought you already had locked down can sometimes be more of a challenge than you realized when you started, but I promise you it will pay off in rewards.
What will you choose to learn?
Editor’s Note: This post was initially published in Casino Journal and as a Drivetime Marketing podcast. It has been revamped and updated for comprehensiveness. You can hear the original version on your favorite podcast app.