William Cooke          


Transforming Communications by Facilitating Philosophical Thought

Communicating What You Know Without Sounding Like A Know-it-all

So I wanted to distill what I’ve been talking about this week on LinkedIn into a short article. A guide to communicating your business knowledge without sounding like a know-it-all. So here are five simple steps that create dialogue rather than lecturing. When we know something we feel great about ourselves and that’s natural. Knowledge is one thing that makes us human. 

Yet, if we go back just a few hundred years how many things were we sure we knew that turned out to be wrong! The idea of ‘atoms’ comes to mind, ‘atom’ comes from the Greek for ‘uncuttable.’ Nowadays, any high-schooler can tell you what great scientists back in the day didn’t know. We can break atoms up into smaller pieces. In fact, we still don’t know how far down we can go!  

So, how can we share what we know and still leave room to grow?

1. Tell your truth: Open up with what you know and how you know it. If your justified, true belief is really knowledge and you want to share that, if you have created knowledge and wish to teach others, if you are ready to speak up, do so! Just be prepared to be honest about the shortcomings of this idea. Don’t be afraid to let others work on the idea too. That’s how science progresses, after all. So instead...

2. Open up the floor: Social media has democratised a lot of knowledge sharing. Now we communicate with rather than broadcast to an audience. Those people listening to you are also full of valuable ideas and information that might just enrich your position, your product or your service. It’s worth inviting them into the conversation.

3. Speak at the end: I saw a great presentation by Simon Sinek where he argued that great leaders speak at the end. I’d like to extend that to anyone wishing to communicate. Incorporating all the new info means you are open to learning and also great at creating something new. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start a conversation but it means that you should take what you hear in, after weighing up how it changes your ideas.

4. Facts are static, stories evolve: refine the ideas into something more resilient. Think of the myth of the Hydra. When it has one head cut off, plenty more grow back. Just like pruning a bush, new life comes into ideas that get a good trimming. Once you have refined your idea put it back out there. Craft a narrative with your most powerful ideas as they grow. Tell their story and watch them evolve.

5. Non-attachment: If you are doing the above things. It is likely you have already nailed this one! But be conscious that your idea just represents one side of the coin. There is a whole other face that might be waiting. Allowing the space to refine and improve ideas is the only way forward. As I said in step one, it works for science, so it works for many things!

"Facts are static, stories evolve..."

And, in the spirit of the article, I’d love to hear what you think! Nobody likes a lecture, after all. Coaching taught me that there are always new keys to every lock. What other ways can we share knowledge without lecturing?

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