2Know Magazine: Sharing KM Knowledge
2Know: Sharing KM Knowledge
June 2020 - Magazine No. 249
June 2020 - Magazine No. 249
Edition:

COVID-19 will probably be discussed in length and will definitely be regarded as an abnormal and meaningful event to be told to generation come. One thing I gained from this experience was time. Time at home, time with my partner, time with my children… and time to tidy up the house over and over again. This also included finally, regarding the emails and letters in folders on my computer or binders.

Most of them were still unopened. Yes, I have been saving various letters and emails from service providers, never yet opened. And the big question would be: why?

Why do some letters contain information which is clearly vital to customers, yet they nevertheless decide not to read them?

One answer, in my opinion, is that they are written in a manner which is simply unfriendly to readers.

 

So, what is friendly writing?

A main issue to be addressed is the writing's goal: is our writing meant to merely "launch" the data towards the reader, heaving the responsibility over to them? Perhaps we should be writing so that the reader comprehends the content easily, even effortlessly? Shouldn't we be intending our reader to feel comfortable while consuming the information?

Businesses should be speaking our customers' 'language'. If we can get our reader to both experience a positive User Experience while consuming the information and call them to act upon it- that is a double win.

So here are 7 tips for friendly writing using our customers' language:

  1. Clear writing: one central message. No double meaning, no interpretation needed.
  2. Concise writing: short and to the point. Write only what is necessary.
  3. Bottom line: the bottom line or most critical message should be stated right at the top, followed by the details.
  4. Think like a customer: monitor the text and review whether what you wrote is clear to you and those around you. Refer to the reader personally, using casual phrasing which does not require their time or patience to understand the message. Lay off the big words.
  5. Transparent, positive writing: write anything relevant to the reader, while maintaining a positive atmosphere- even if the message is actually negative. Focus mainly on what to do rather than what not.
  6. Writing with value added: what does the reader gain? Write information that contributed to their comprehension and calls to action, and (again) focus on the purpose of this letter. Relate to the stages the customer goes through during the service process. Be empathetic and provide value by presenting  information relevant to the situation at the right timing.
  7. Visually pleasing writing and display- generate a reading experience that is easy on the eye. Invest thought in the color selection, spacing and use of icons/pictures.

In conclusion, remember- success depends on accessibility, simplicity, and mediating content to customers, attempting to writing more friendly.

 

 

 

 

Written By Michal Gil- Peretz

I have been involved in recent years in managing the knowledge of a central department in one of the large government offices in Israel. This last march, due to the coronavirus's unfortunate breakout in Israel, I saw management being forced into an emergency routine. This move was made in order to retain a certain routine in accordance with the new situation. It was meant to enhance all parties' resilience and ability to cope with the special conditions. The new emergency routine required a quick set up and required a daily checkup on the ever-changing settings, then adapting the department's conduct accordingly.

This new work routine required the office to set a policy aligned to the new situation, writing detailed instructions to the field, dealing with publicity and propaganda, as well as managing the knowledge accumulated in this field. Furthermore, as to government instructions, the office was required to document all aspects of its activity during the crisis.

So, how was this performed?

The first step was identifying the need for the quick distribution of a large amount of data and information to all parties in the field. The main challenge this crisis presents is coping with data and information overload. It was therefore vital to concentrate the most updated info on the various subjects. Collaboratively thinking with the customers, we decided to send updates via WhatsApp. These updates all featured a uniform template, with only the info being updated every few days.

This solution answered some basic KM requirements:

  1. Structuring knowledge in templates, making KM and its application accessible, comprehendible and user friendly
  2. Developing new knowledge accessible via cellphone, placing the data (quite literally) in the users' palms, thus saving the effort and time otherwise spent searching other sources for data
  3. Sharing knowledge created in office headquarters with field parties, focusing on implementing.

 

We started with office notifications, links to existing documents posted on the office's professional portals.

A major channel which was widely utilized included updates on wide social media networks: YouTube, and Facebook. We mainly relied on visual means such as pictures and videos, coupled with concise posts and references to simultaneously prepared content pages. By fitting the content to the channel through which it was distributed, we contributed to the quick flow of information to various target audiences.

 

Furthermore, distributing the information through the office's internet sites was given top priority. Content pages were prepared quickly, focusing policy documents on conduct in the field. The content was published according to the portals' target audiences so that new various users could consume it independently as well as be 'pushed' the newest update.

 

The second step had to do with documenting the information in the office's file management system. This step featured several challenges:

  • Analyzing the work environment this task requires
  • Appointing to each unit a documentation manager
  • Formulating a work procedure that regulates knowledge sharing with the units' respective documentation managers to enable the latter to optimally document the information.
  • Monitoring the documentation process

The documentation is still in progress, during which we are repeatedly witnessing the importance of knowledge management and organization, not only in times of crisis. Actually, this crisis only highlighted the importance of organizing and managing knowledge regularly so that when crisis occurs our workers are already accustomed to methodical documentation and only need to keep implementing their usual routines.

 

Interim insights

While this crisis has yet to pass, we can already gather our accumulated lessons learned and gain some insights that may be of service to the organization, and not only in times of crisis:

  • When we are required to publish information on the internet it is best to appoint a single worker being in charge for all communications approved for publication. This worker will hopefully prevent several versions of the same document being released to the virtual channels.
  • When publications on the internet must be followed, it is best to prepare a rolling file in advance and feed each update into it right after it is published. Thus, regular work processes do not consume much time while the required data may be retrieved with ease at any time.
  • When publishing data via digital channels (Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook) organization procedures must be adhered to enable quick and effective distribution of said data.

In conclusion, remember: every crisis presents an opportunity to develop, evolve and come up with out-of-the-box solutions.

 

 

References

Knowledge Management with meaning, Dr. Moria Levy (23/03/20)

How does Knowledge Management assist an organization during times of crisis? (December 2012 issue of 2Know Magazine).

Templates or Documents (November 2017 issue of 2Know Magazine)

 

Written by Rom Knowledgeware
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