On a recent interview, I was asked: "How do you stay apprised of what's going on in your profession, various industries and the market in general?"
In this age of information overload, it has become necessary to create a strategy for staying informed while not going into information paralysis (and not being able to act on the information you have accumulated). Here are some ways to keep in tune with what’s going on around you:
- Network with fellow professionals and co-workers. Talk to people at lunch, on the elevator, and in airplanes. Remember that networking exchanges involve both a give and take aspect, so be sure to give back information or services in some way.
- Join a professional association and review their newsletters and literature. Attend local meetings and the national convention to gain further insights and networking opportunities.
- Use your Internet service provider's "NewsGroup" feature. Use specific keywords to make sure you receive daily articles, news stories and press releases on subjects in which you are interested. Delete extraneous ones that don't interest you based on the e-mail's subject line.
- Take classes at local community or continuing education colleges. Network with your professors from the industry to tap into their insights.
- Go on informational/networking interviews available through referrals from your network.
- Subscribe to prominent periodicals in your field (and read them).
- Read current business bestsellers by gurus in your profession/industry.
Remember that information and knowledge are sources of power, and that integrating your knowledge base will allow you to spot trends and develop forecasts with which you can proactively prepare to deal with the inevitable future changes and opportunities.
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