According to the online Merrian-Webster dictionary, if you answer YES you are someone who is involved in the latest methods, concepts, information, or styles <such as demanding the most up-to-date computer system available>
Synonyms include contemporary, current, designer, hot, mod, modernistic, new, new age, newfangled, new-fashioned, present-day, red-hot, space-age, state-of-the-art, ultramodern, up-to-date, up-to-the-minute. All nice adjectives, yet getting there and staying there is a constant challenge. For the most part, it’s about keeping up with industry news which often seems to be just one more thing to add to your already overwhelming to-do list. So why bother?
If you are in a decision making position, being up-to-date and in-the-know provides important information that allows you to see the big picture and possible future ramifications of your decisions, front and center. Everything from new legislation, product enhancements, market trends and new technologies come into play when you are making business decisions and they are best made with eyes wide open.
If you’re not a top mucky-muck, you still want to impress those who are and make yourself invaluable – since they probably are not up-to-date themselves.
This appears to come naturally to the GenX population – or many of them. They are attracted to the “new” and anything different from what their parents might have experienced. My list below is somewhat conventional, but helpful non-the-less. But one of the best resources I have found is an open-mind while sitting along side a young one.
Sources of up-to-datedness
Mentors. And yes. A mentor can be younger and less experienced than a mentee. They may not be sharing the ways of the world based on their experience but they certainly are in touch with the buzz. The right mix of “experience” and “in-the-know youth” can be a winning combination.
Trade Associations. People join trade associations for many reasons. They can help to keep you informed with their newsletters and publications, and they provide networking opportunities with meetings and conferences.
Trade Shows and Conferences. A great way to get connected to new products, find out what your competitors are up and meet the folks who are making the news!
Networking Events. If you don’t have time to spend a full day, or full week at a trade show, networking events are another way to listen to the buzz and make connections. If you attend the same ones regularly, you will build a strong network of your own and know who’s in-the-know about what.
Webinars. Webinars abound. What an easy way to get educated in your pjs! There are so many experts out there anxious to share. Often they are sponsored events so it costs you only your time.
Blogs. It may take some surfing to find the content that you need but once you do, check back frequently, engage and learn at your own pace. There are apps like Pocket where you can collect content and access it easily when you have time to read and ponder.
Twitter. This is a great way to follow the movers and shakers of your specific interests. Search for relevant key words to find them and listen up.
LinkedIn. Join industry specific groups and get the latest chatter from individuals and organizations.
Google Alerts. Let Google do the surfing for you. By setting up notification requests based on certain words or companies, Google will send you a nicely organized list of posts to keep you well informed.
But when is there time?
After a bit of up-front investment you’ll settle in and find the empty crevices of your day that can accommodate your on-going education. Smart phones make it easy to catch up on your reading while waiting for a ride or taking a “productive” break from your task list. You’ll find the time if you want to. Think about how important it is for you to be knowledgeable, and take it from there.