How to Be a Better Sponge
Since its inception, HMA Public Relations has hung its hat on its ability to wear a lot of hats. We often even wear more than one at a time, whichever combinations are required to ensure our clients’ success in strategic planning, media relations, content marketing, collateral development, event planning, issues management, community relations, digital communications and more.
To wear so many hats, however, you must be a sponge, soaking in knowledge about far more than just your profession, but clients’ industries, the news media, current events, technology, stories of the day, oddities in this world, fun facts, interesting tidbits for networking and more.
There are myriad ways we stay up on so much at one time. Here are three that always help me to be a better sponge so I can be a better hat wearer at work and in my personal life, with an example of each in action this past week:
Commit to learning something new every single day. You never know how or why you might need it.
For example, on Monday, I learned from Abbie that food items with a circled U on the packaging are kosher.
Commit to active listening and observing.
The reason I learned the above from Abbie on Monday was by watching her sort through leftover Halloween candy and hearing her vaguely say something about finding said U designations.
Commit to asking questions versus just assuming or letting something go.
Rather than go back to the staff meeting minutes, I asked Abbie why on earth she was looking for the letter circled, assuming it was a “Box Tops for Schools” thing. She then explained to our team that a circled U or OU symbol on food labels is a kosher trademark indicating that the product is in accordance with Jewish dietary laws.
Commit to repeating what you’ve learned so it sticks.
Don’t let new information go in one ear and out the other. The easiest way to do this is to pay the information forward by sharing it. I texted my non-Jewish relatives as soon as I left the meeting about the U, with less than half knowing the fun fact either. I also wrote this blog post about it, ensuring I will remember it long after all the leftover Halloween candy is gone, kosher and otherwise.