How to Increase your Affinity with Numbers
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How to Increase your Affinity with Numbers
The common intelligence among senior management people

Do you have an affinity with numbers?

I discussed this question in my book "A Better Job Interview - Questions and Techniques". I would like to elaborate more on this topic.

It is important to cultivate your ability to work with numbers, no matter what job position you hold. Why? It is because you cannot live without numbers. Think of the occasions when you have to do a quick calculation of the total amount of the bills you have to settle, or when you have to calculate the average cost of purchasing a certain amount of consumable stationery and determine the budget for your department.

Based on my experience in dealing with senior management people, those who perform well usually have an exceptional ability to relate things to numbers. They visualise their companies, operations and business units as numbers in their mind. It is interesting that sometimes they are not aware that they have this habit.

The intelligence of numbers is also related to your ability in spatial perception and your sense of direction.

How to increase your number sense?

First of all, learn to avoid relying on machine.

When you have to do a calculation, try to work out a rough estimate without using a calculator. It helps if you round off the numbers before you add them up. Glance throughall the numbers quickly to spot any irregularities.

Do some simple mathematics every day. When you check out in a supermarket, roughly estimate the total amount of your purchases before you pay the bill. You would soon find it fun and interesting to do so.

Secondly, practice to find out the direction when you are walking or driving. Try to reach your destination not by remembering when to turn left or right but by referring to the direction. Am I heading north now? Do I have to turn west at the next block? Train your brain to have a better sense of direction and spatial perception.

Thirdly, try to remember numbers by heart. Don't rely on electronic diary. Once you rely on it, you would find your memory failing you always.

Fourthly, learn to find out the correct time without using a watch. Start practicing it on your holiday. Ask yourself the present time from time to time without looking at your watch. Or simply don't wear the watch when you go on holiday.

Fifthly, remove the mental block in your brain. Convince yourself that you can master the numbers. I have seen many candidates excusing themselves for not being good at numbers simply because they don't believe they can master them.

Finally, start to notice the figures in your surroundings. What is the population of your town, living district, or city? Do you know the population of the world's major economic bodies and emerging markets like USA, Germany, UK, Japan, China, India, etc? What about their GNP?

I like to ask these questions during an interview because I want to know if the candidates have the sense of number. If he/she has no idea of even the population of his/her own living district, somehow he/she is not sensitive enough in this area.

Start today and develop your sense of number. You would soon find it rewarding not only in job seeking but in your life.

From the Desk of
Damen Choy

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