January 8, 2013

Learning all we can — and must

Don’t empty the mailbox (electronic or otherwise) and never stop thinking about what areas of business you’d like to understand better.

I suspect many other people in business face in the same dilemma I face nearly every workday. My inbox is filled with opportunities to participate in classes, seminars, conferences, webinars and more.

Each of these is led by world-renowned experts, proven professionals in their field and industry-recognized leaders. Like me, you may find it very gratifying that these highly respected individuals want to share their latest thinking with you.

But here is the ugly reality:

Not all of these presentations and conversations will be as stimulating as you hoped.

In fact, from time to time you may walk away feeling as though you have wasted your time.

I contend that you have not!

If nothing else, you have gained valuable insight that can be shared with coworkers, friends and associates, thereby making sure that others do not experience this same disappointment. Also, even sitting through a “not-so-good” presentation forces you to evaluate why you think differently and how you would do it better. This is certainly a healthy exercise for any of us.

One final thought:

When the presenting organization gives you the chance to evaluate its event, do everybody a favor and do so. If your experience was negative, say so, but not in a cruel tone. Use measured, constructive language that will give your presenter a chance to improve.

On a more upbeat note, my experience has been that it only takes one great professional growth opportunity to justify three or four disappointing ones. Frankly, at the pace with which the world is changing, none of us can afford to stop pursuing new thinking.

So my advice is don’t empty the mailbox (electronic or otherwise) and never stop thinking about what areas of business you’d like to understand better.  The information is available, and if you don’t pursue it, you run the risk of getting left behind.

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