Dialogue is the most effective tool when it comes to communication. It helps us express opinions, thoughts, emotions, ideas, expertise and depending on how good we are with using it, countless other information.
We talked a lot about the importance of communication at work, because that’s the trigger of a healthy collaborative environment. And though many people are eager and willing to start cooperating more with their coworkers, there are many imaginary boundaries that hold them back. Like: I’m poor with social interaction…where do I start?
So with this post I would like to offer a list of suggestions on how to use dialogue in order to thrive knowledge sharing within your organization. This goes out to all employees, as much as to managers.
Some of the actions I’m about to list aim to give you the opportunity to share your knowledge and some to invite others to do the same – reciprocity should be the main focus when we talk about dialogue and collaboration.
1. Ask questions. About their work, about the status of a project they’re working on – and be genuine about it, don’t just look interested. Most certainly you’ll need their expertise at one point. Your colleagues should be your first knowledge resource whenever you’re stuck with your own work. This is more effective online. If your organization uses a knowledge sharing software, the experts are easier to be found and to get at, so all that’s left is to post your question.
2. Answer questions. I mentioned reciprocity. So make yourself available for others as well. I’m not saying to drop whatever you were doing just because you were shoulder-tapped by a colleague that needed help. Interruptions don’t go well with productivity and it might make people give you a cold shoulder instead. Turn to all the internal tools and platforms your company uses in order share your expertise without affecting your own agenda.
3. Make suggestions. Just because you don’t know the answer to a question, it doesn’t mean you can’t participate. Comments can be useful as well. Show your support by engaging in a conversation if you have helpful insights. Solutions sometimes find their own way when all pieces of information are put together. Talking about suggestions…if you notice someone offered an incomplete or even wrong answer, add your point of view without being condescended about it.
4. Ask for feedback. Don’t use this as an opportunity to brag about something you already know you did well. Be honest when asking for other people’s opinions. This can save you a lot of rework if you’re in the middle of your project. All too often, we try to do everything by ourselves and rather feed our ego than admitting we could use a hand and ask for help.
Starting a useful discussion with your colleagues can’t be restricted to the actions above – these are just some suggestions to kickoff dialogue, a starting point. Collaboration is a muscle that everyone has, it just need exercised!
Happy Knowledge Sharing!