One Secret for Advancing Your Career
Why a Private Archive?
An archive—indexed and cross-indexed—is your private information source and idea file.
No matter your profession, if you have an extensive file of retrievable, cutting-edge information that directly relates to your business and industry, you can lace your memos, e-mails, letters, reports, speeches, PowerPoint presentations and white papers with tidbits, factoids and statistics that show you know a lot, are on top of your job and are a force in your industry
With a private archive, you'll be far less likely to suffer writer’s block than your colleagues and competitors who must start every new assignment from scratch.
Instead, you'll have an invaluable series of dossiers on people, businesses, business practices and events.
Many correspondents and presenters want to dazzle their audiences with clever writing and brilliance. I like being known as an aggregator of information, a connector of dots and a fair researcher. Whenever possible, I credit the source of a factoid or quotation, which lends credence to my argument and makes me look like a smart guy for knowing about a lot of stuff.
How to Start an Archive
Presumably, you surf the Internet; read newspapers, trade magazines and journals; and perhaps go to conferences where you take notes.
When you come across something you might be able to use someday, get it onto your computer immediately.
You don’t have to read the entire document; only scan the first paragraph, which will tell you what the story is about. Then come up with a file name, and file it in a place where you can easily find and retrieve it.
Traditional news stories are created in the “inverted pyramid” format—with a short lead paragraph that describes who, what, where, when and how—enabling the reader to grasp the basics and decide whether or not to continue. Subsequent short paragraphs fill in details, from the most important down to the least important.
When an inverted-pyramid story goes out over the wires, newspaper editors can pick up as much or as little as they want, depending on the space available. Even if all but the first two paragraphs are lopped off, readers still get the guts of the story.
All you need do is scan that first paragraph to know what's there and whether it'll be of value to you.