Brain Training Can Help You Get an Edge—and a Raise—at Work
by Terri Clark, Aug. 2012
In an age of mass layoffs, thousands of people applying for two job openings, and perky 20-somethings competing for positions with Boomers, you need an edge to get – or keep – a job. No, it’s not an Armani suit or pearly whites, it’s not even a list of references or the fact that you’ve never called in sick. The bottom line to compete in today’s tough job market is performance.
Yes, closing a multi-million dollar deal is good, but it’s usually a result of your consistent performance. So what type of brain skills do you need, and how do you strengthen them? Here are four must-haves for today’s competitive market.
1. Auditory Processing. Reading and writing in some formare a vital component of most jobs. Whether you write sales letters and emails, read technical instructions or even just want to take a continuing education class, strong auditory skills are a necessity.
“We’ve found that in adults with reading and writing difficulties, the weakest cognitive skills are auditory processing (i.e. the ability to perceive, analyze and conceptualize what is heard),” explains Tanya Mitchell, VP of Research and Development for LearningRx, a national brain-training franchise that works with adults, teens, children and soldiers with traumatic brain injuries. For working adults who suffer from dyslexia or dysgraphia, brain-training can be the transformation between struggling and excelling.
2. Attention. If you struggle with multi-tasking, staying focused on long-term projects or coping with constant interruptions in the workplace, you likely have weak attention skills.
Although there’s a lot of talk about children and teens with ADHD, weak attention skills are a factor for many working adults as well. Although many people loosely define attention as “focus,” in reality there are three types of attention: divided (enables you to pay attention to several things at once); sustained (enables you to pay attention for long periods of time); and selective (allows you to stay on task even when a distraction is presented).
Many adults struggle with more than one type of attention skill weakness. Professional cognitive skills trainers can measure the different types of attention skills and essentially ‘retrain the brain’ to strengthen the learning skills.
3. Memory/Retention. Thanks to the economic decline, many would-be retirees are staying at their jobs longer. This makes for tough competition for seniors, competing against younger brains with stronger memory skills (the most rapidly weakening learning skill for humans). Memory can affect your job in many ways: forgetting clients’ names, missing appointments and meetings, and losing big accounts by forgetting important details. And while age-related cognitive decline is a given, there are things you can do to decrease and delay its impact.
“There are actually three types of memory,” explains Dr. Ken Gibson, author of Unlock the Einstein Inside – “short-term (telling yourself to call a client after you finish typing up a letter); long-term (remembering a customer’s name from five years ago); and working memory (retaining information for a short period of time while using it in the workplace, such as mental math). All three are important to almost every type of job, and cognitive skills training can strengthen these learning skills.”
4. Processing Speed. Ever noticed how some people can complete a task in half the time of their coworkers? It’s not that the other coworkers are lazy – or even slow. It’s more likely that the faster employee has exceptional processing speed.
Processing speed is basically the rate at which the brain handles information. No matter what your age or education, processing speed can be improved.
“Many people assume processing speed has to do with intelligence or education,” explains Mitchell. “In reality, it’s just about the number of connections between your brain synapses. Cognitive skills training increases these pathways so the brain can find the shortest route to get information from point A to point B. It’s very common for us to see people with high intelligence that have low processing speed.”
It helps employees respond quickly, process math computations faster, move from task to task in a timely manner, and perform well under stress – such as with deadlines or time-sensitive responsibilities. Just imagine what a slow processing speed could do if you worked at the New York Stock Exchange!
For most people who undergo cognitive skills training, the two biggest results can be found in work performance and self-confidence. To learn more about how you can improve your brain by strengthening your cognitive skills, contact your nearest brain-training center or visit www.learningrx.com.
Terri Clark is the owner/director of Melbourne LearningRx. She is passionate about sharing the amazing transformations of the brain as seen in her own son and hundreds of graduates of the program. She can be reached at (321) 727-3996 or firstname.lastname@example.org