Today I want to talk to you about a test that might be useful in assessing your knowledge on a specific matter.
It is a short test that I learned to take on two important occasions:
- whenever I am about to face a task that is new to me, at least partially;
- when I want to check the depth of my knowledge of topics I think I can master.
You can do it all by yourself, without the help of experts: and then, you can yourself assess the result.
Do you want to know more? Here is a short summary.
When can you use it?
- Anytime you feel it might be helpful to test your knowledge of a topic you will be required to employ shortly.
How long does it take?
- No longer than 15 minutes.
What tools can you use?
- An A4 sheet of paper, a pencil and an eraser.
- Alternatively, you can use PowerPoint or WORD; white paper and pencil are definitely more effective.
What should you NOT use?
- Disconnect from the Internet so that you cannot give in to the temptation to collect information.
- For the same reason, do not access your personal computer hard drive.
Identify the topic you want to assess your knowledge of.
- It doesn’t need to be broad; choose a specific aspect whose understanding may prove crucial in managing the task you expect to tackle.
Choose a target audience
- Imagine that you have to explain the matter of your interest to one or two people (no more, so as not to add to the difficulty of managing a large audience).
Prepare your presentation
- Use the white paper to explain the topic, giving organic structure to your knowledge and making sure that at the end he/she has understood at least the essential elements.
- A few tips:
- if after 5 minutes you haven’t done much, don’t get discouraged: collecting the knowledge may turn out to be a difficult exercise, and may not be immediate;
- be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking that you know the matter very well and consider the exercise useless;
- if the structure of your presentation requires more than one sheet of paper, do not hesitate to get more.
- Did you succeed? Do you think you did a good job?
- I’m very glad!
- However, if after 15 minutes you feel you haven’t achieved much, don’t get discouraged.
- Just stop for a while and identify the areas that you need to strengthen and get prepared.
- Then repeat the test.
What do you think about the test? Can it be a helpful tool?
I have used it successfully in selection interviews, or when I wanted to help a team member to consciously check the mastering of specific knowledge.
However, it is on me that the test has been most helpful:
its brutal effectiveness in laying naked my ignorance has every time a bitter taste,
which I have learned to bear and appreciate.
Especially when I think that going crashing can be much, much more painful.
Don’t you think?
Should you find it difficult to identify a subject to submit to the white paper test, here below are a few topics I’ve seen respected professionals falter on.
- Describe, in a concise and immediate format, the performance management process.
- Identify the 5 main indicators of business profitability and the related methods of calculation.
- Identifies the flowchart of a project, describing the key parameters.
- How many types of innovation do you know? Can you give a concise definition?
- How do they differ from one another?
- What are the variables you keep under control when managing a manufacturing process?
- For what reasons?
Social media marketing
- How do you select the social media to employ in your marketing campaigns?
- How many different kinds of salespeople do you know?
- Can you briefly profile them?
Starting with these examples it may be easier for you to identify a topic to test your knowledge.
After the test, would you let me know if it was helpful?