Mandatory learning

There are some things that aren’t taught at school that I belive should be mandatory learning for everyone taking part in adult life. Here’s my short, non-exhaustive list of things I believe everyone should be educated about but aren’t.

Meetings: How do you conduct a meeting? Why should you have a background, objective, question and outcome of a meeting? How do you facilitate a meeting so that is stays enough on track to get through the staged agenda without running over time? How do you make sure everyone in a meeting is included, and what is the right size of a meeting? What meetings are important and necessary? We all spend a lot of time in meetings, and too many such meetings could be run better.

Basic psychology: Why do humans behave as they do? What is loss aversion? What is anchoring? What is reciprocity bias? What is social proof? What is availability bias? There are a few more, but you get the point. These are ways we all (mis)behave, and the best way to avoid errors from such biases is awareness of them.

Sales: Whatever your position, when you reach a certain level of seniority it turns into a sales role. This is someone else’s quote originally (couldn’t figure out who), and it’s very true. Doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor, chef or CEO - when you get to the top you have to sell. Sell research, sell methods, sell your restaurant, sell your business to investors. Still, nobody I know has ever taken a school course in sales.

Email: Together with meetings, emails run most large organizations. And it runs cross-company communications. Still nobody learns how to do this right. What is inbox zero? How do you do a proper email introduction? When do you use bcc, cc, reply, reply all and so on. Basic stuff that everyone does in so many different, non-optimal ways.

The world would run much smoother if such things were also taught at school. But I don’t expect this to happen anytime soon though.