How to get experts to share their knowledge
People naturally want to share their skills with fellow coworkers. Often, they don’t think they know how. It’s the equivalent of the blank-page syndrome that causes the writer’s block.
It turns out that a bit of a system can help. Here’re a few ideas:
Knowledge sharing is high impact work
Smart people often say: I’d love to teach a class but I’m busy and that’s not my job. Remind your experts that sharing unique knowledge with their coworkers is one of the most impactful activities they can do.
In any organization, as people move up the ladder, enabling others to be great is more important than doing the solo work. This is what it means to lead or be a senior.
Get in touch with the superpower
Everyone is an expert on something and we can all contribute to one another. Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest from the trees.
One way to help people get in touch with their superpower is by asking them What are you proud of? Help them brainstorm these ideas into a single concrete skill. This becomes the gist of the course.
Get hands-on with the course outline
Now that your experts are excited and in touch with their superpower, work on creating a course outline. This is going to be a single page document defining what this course is.
Below are a couple of steps to create it.
Start with the promise
Formulate that as a promise of the talk. Use the following format: By the end of this talk, you will be able to do X. Here, X is a skill that their audience didn’t have before and is excited to obtain. It’s about passing some of that superpower to the audience.
Their promise may be high level, such as delivering an overview of something complex. That’s fine. Tell the audience what to expect.
Think Aha! moments
On the journey of delivering on that promise of a new skill, think of the major pit stops. What are the smaller skills the audience needs to understand first? You can use this format: In this course, we’ll cover the following topics… Then, write out the key topics as bullet points.
By breaking it down like this, you’re delivering a number of smaller Oh, so this is how that’s done! experiences. Make that journey interesting for people.
Promote it and see how it sticks
With the enticing promise and major Aha! moments, you now have a one-page course outline. Promote it! See if the audience resonates with it.
Don’t worry about creating the actual content until there’s a sufficient evidence that people will show up. If they do, great! Otherwise, go back to the drawing board and brainstorm other promises of new skills.
Provide hand holding during content creation
Ok, so people are excited to learn more about the course that you’ve marketed. Now, we need to create the actual content.
Work with your expert on how best to structure the presentation. Remind them that hands-on exercises are more powerful than slides. So, perhaps the next step for them is to think of a lab that they want to weave in the course such that it takes the participants through those major pit stops on their journey to learning a new skill.
To present is to give a present
Send them off with the good vibes to share themselves with their coworkers. Remind them that sharing their knowledge is high-impact real work they are doing.