“Knowledge often comes not only from asking the right questions, but meeting with the right people”
One of the challenges of the modern era is information overload; and often times we find ourselves with projects and assignments where we need to quickly understand a complex topic and make judgment calls. These decision calls can range anywhere from making multi-million dollar investments to providing executive reports to your Boss. Sometimes, it is your first week on the job and you need to get up to speed quickly on a new process or functionality
Below are three techniques that I have found to be extremely effective when confronted with the above situations:
- Research – Do a deep dive into the topic using internal corporate document repository or external white papers and articles (Google it). This gets you in the familiarity zone.
- Recreate – Create a visual representation of your understanding of the topic using Venn Diagrams, Graphs, Flowcharts and write your own executive summary to supplement it
- Refer – Setup one on one informational interviews with subject matter experts and ask questions to validate your hypothesis. Once all the questions have been answered – ask them if there are any questions that you have not asked or What else do I need to know?
Once you have completed the three steps, you should have a firm grasp on the topic and will be able to converse intelligently as well as make confident presentations. Make sure to do the due diligence to update your notes when new information is acquired to stay current.