Knowledge empowers

When you keep the channels of communication open, there is less chance for chaos and misinformation

Published - October 15, 2017 05:00 pm IST

Keep sharing  Knowledge makes you powerful

Keep sharing Knowledge makes you powerful

A while ago I happened to be at an airport, waiting to board my flight after the usual formalities. The terminal was buzzing with people. All of a sudden, a security drill was announced, which meant the airport had to be evacuated. All passengers, airport and airline staff members were carted out of the terminal onto the tarmac. Flight services were understandably delayed. There was utter chaos as everyone, especially the passengers, knew only there was a drill and got no clear answers from anybody on when it would be over or when they could board their flights. After a few ambiguous hours, the airport — one of the busiest in the world — limped back to normal. And I finally got where I wanted to go.

For me this scenario illustrated the power of and need for information. When we know what is going on, we are less likely to make the wrong decision and more likely to stay calm. That day, the security personnel had a difficult time managing the clueless crowd. Many had started to panic, worrying they were going to miss their flights. Many lost their temper. Only a minority stayed calm bringing in their own sense of good judgment. Having the right information could have allayed the worries of most people, making the overall situation easier for everybody involved.

Consider the big picture. Information is all around us. Every second, we receive it from people, media, books —whatever we might see or hear. We need to exercise common sense, glean what is relevant and internalise it. Not being open to these channels of information and therefore not being aware can lead to undesirable situations. Ignorance is not always bliss.

Ease situations

The willingness to receive information and process it becomes critical across situations. In the global workplace, a parochial mind-set with limited information wouldn’t take us far. Being aware of current or emerging industry trends alone won’t do. Professionals also need to be aware of the priorities of their respective organisations and related organisational ‘trends’. These could include changes a particular company is going through in terms of its vision, accomplishments of employees and teams, and so on. Internal information is just as critical as external.

Knowledge formed on the basis of correct information helps us confidently navigate formal and informal conversations. This can come in handy any time we are required to demonstrate understanding of things, during meetings and presentations. It lends credibility to our personal brand. It makes us well-rounded individuals and helps us stay calm in ambiguous times. It helps us become and stay flexible during times of change.

Most companies have well-defined internal media that are intended at keeping their employees informed. But this cannot be a company’s responsibility alone. While such media are meant to deliver information as accurately and appropriately as they can, individuals must take the time to pay attention to them.

Of course, in addition to seeking information from these formal channels, we may do well to consider informal sources too. Colleagues and internal forums or networks can also become our media.

Knowledge is power. As long as we recognise this basic, we are empowered. Choose to ignore it, we may end up clueless and chaotic like the people in the airport the other day.

The author is a writer and literary journalist. She also heads Corporate Communications at UST Global. Write to her at

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