Avoiding Information Overload

Not too long ago, information was hard to come by. Before online search engines, social networks, blogs, tweets, chat rooms, YouTube, instant messaging, text messaging and email, people relied on only a handful of resources for their news and information, including newspapers, magazines, a few network TV stations and radio programs.

Business communications were also painfully slow. Letters were typed on typewriters and mailed through the postal service. If there was a sense of urgency, you could send a fax, but even that was slow. If you wanted to stay up-to-date on industry news and information, the most effective way was to network with peers by being part of a trade association.

Has the electronic age changed our lives? There’s no doubt that it has. News items and video are posted in real time as information becomes available. Discussions about these items pop up just as quickly. Business communications have also vastly improved and productivity has greatly increased. Every year our communication tools become better, faster and more reliable. But as our tools improve, we’re also expected to keep up and stay proficient, which means we need to continue to be more productive and more connected.

Today the information pendulum has swung in the other direction from years ago. We’re all on information overload. Our daily emails are filled with spam from unknown sources as well as e-blasts, e-newsletters, e-marketing from many online groups we knowingly belong to. If a communication comes from a recognizable online group, we typically spend no more than five to ten seconds scanning the information. If none of the topics instantly grab our attention, then the document either gets deleted or placed in a folder that never gets opened again.

Then there is the problem of miscommunication, which reminds me of the girl who said, “They’re not allowed to put anything on the internet that is not true.” When asked where she heard that, she replied “The internet.”

So what continues to be the most reliable way to stay informed about your industry? The answer is: Continue networking with peers in an association like GAWDA. We focus on the issues that really matter to you and filter out all the other fluff and miscommunications.

I hope you take some time to strengthen your ties with your peers at the upcoming Spring Management Conference in Chicago. I hope you continue to get the insight you need to be successful from our fellow members, our dedicated leadership, committees, consultants and staff.

As the new year begins, please make sure you’ve renewed your GAWDA membership. If you have not done so yet, keep an eye out for the reminder notices or simply go to our website at www.gawda.org and renew online.

I thank you for your continued support of our association and our industry, and I look forward to seeing many of you in Chicago.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
John Ospina Meet the Author
John Ospina is GAWDA’s executive director. He can be reached at GAWDA headquarters in Doral, Florida, via telephone at 1-877-382-6440 or email at jospina@gawda.org.