Fact from fiction

How do we decide when industry rumours are accurate?

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By  Mark Foxwell Published  September 8, 2006

The rumours last month about Emirates SkyCargo being transformed into an independent company have sent a wave of confusion throughout the industry. On this occasion, the speculation proved baseless. However, it does raise an important question: how does someone actually differentiate between a rumour being accurate and a rumour being completely misguided? Firstly, all industries feature an endless supply of hearsay. This has become a universal factor in business. However, different companies react differently to speculation, which helps to distinguish them from the rest of the herd. The more gossip that occurs between businesses, the more chance that gossip will eventually turn on the company participating. The company that keeps quiet and refrains from involvement in the rumourmill is always the one that stands a better chance of keeping out of the circle and silent from harmful hearsay. However, there is a flip side to the coin. Sometimes these rumours are accurate and could prove valuable in terms of business dealings, helping companies stay in touch with industry updates and gain an insight into competitor activities. So, how do you know when a source is reliable or when it should be ignored? A lot of people judge the validity of information based on the source itself, an old friend or close contact, which can be dangerous. You are risking your views on a single individual, who could prove unreliable or untrustworthy. Therefore, conduct a little research by reading trade journals and asking influential industry players to get more in-depth knowledge on the situation. Even if the research helps to reinforce the gossip, remember one thing – a rumour can only become factual when the concerned parties provide clarification, until that moment, it remains unpredictable and potentially dangerous, so tread carefully.

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