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Get up to speed on anything fast

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

When you must learn something quickly—whether it’s when you join a team, take on an assignment or you must brief your boss on an unfamiliar topic—follow this advice:

Research briefly—then sketch. If you need the low-down on industry news or you must master a new protocol, take 30 minutes to google, read internal manuals and conduct other research. Then create a diagram that details what you know about the topic. Don’t get sucked into hours of research; you simply want to gain a broad understanding.

Talk to the right people. All the research in the world can’t beat one well-executed demo or training session. Request quick meetings with knowledgeable people who can teach you. Then update your diagram with any new information you learn.

Fill in the gaps. Revisit your diagram, identify gaps in your knowledge, and conduct more research to fill in those gaps. Aim to boil the topic down to the bare essentials.

— Adapted from “Three Steps to Get Up to Speed on Any Subject Really, Really Fast,” Nir Eyal, Fast Company, www.fastcompany.com.

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