Why aren't you sharing what you know?
To be perfectly honest, until I had coffee with an old friend a few days ago, I had no idea what I was going to write about this week. My friend recently started her own business and asked if we could get together and "talk shop" about being entrepreneurs, finding clients, etc. I was excited to meet with her because (1) she's lovely and I hadn't seen her in a couple of years, and (2) I have benefited tremendously from the generous advice and expertise of many others, and I was eager to pass some of that guidance along to someone else. I also knew that it would be a great opportunity to learn from her.
After our coffee, it occurred to me that when our lives are very busy, sharing knowledge becomes a low priority activity. However, I truly believe we should make the time to share our expertise with others because when we do, everyone who's a part of that conversation wins. Some ideas:
- When someone asks for your help because they know you have certain skills, respond positively.
It might be a new colleague submitting his first team budget, or a grandparent who can't quite figure out how to surf the Internet, but either way, find a way to make time to help those who have reached out to you.
- But....don't always wait for someone to ask.
If it's obvious that your co-worker is nervous about giving a presentation, and you are a skilled speaker, offer to give her some tips and/or listen to her do a run-through. It can be hard for some people to ask for help; make it easy on them by letting them know you're available for support.
- Streamline sharing information with others.
While it can be great to be known as the go-to person regarding particular information or procedures at work, it can also be time consuming handling each question on a case-by-case basis. Consider creating a FAQ document that others can reference and you can update as needed.
- Be active on LinkedIn Groups and other forums designed to share information.
You will not only establish yourself as someone with expertise, but you will also gain the respect of others due to your willingness to provide value without receiving (or expecting) something in return.
- Recognize that sharing information doesn't weaken your position as a thought-leader.
Many people are reluctant to share their expertise with others for fear that their ideas will be "stolen." However, if you think about it, almost everything we know can be found on the internet, so you're probably not sharing a unique million dollar idea. Obviously, the one exception is sharing the name of your superstar babysitter...as every parent knows, that information needs to be guarded very closely.
Faun Zarge helps people find solutions for their work-life challenges.
She offers her practical, realistic strategies through a wide variety of highly interactive and engaging seminars. Please feel free to contact Faun directly to discuss how she might help your organization.