Article Summary:

To effectively exchange knowledge these three stages should be considered.

Knowledge Exchange Overview

In the “Age of Information,” we have no shortage of data readily available at our fingertips. What we are often missing is true knowledge. Lists of research facts have no impact on an individual or organization’s knowledge base unless they meet the needs of the audience.

Effectively exchanging knowledge requires three stages:

1. Developing an awareness of what knowledge we possess.
It’s easy to over or under-estimate the volume or importance of the knowledge we possess. We sometimes lose sight of how important our knowledge may be to someone who needs it. To develop this awareness we must realistically and empathetically assess the information or skills we possess and then accurately analyze what value it may hold to others.

2. Developing an awareness of who may be interested in acquiring our knowledge.
There are several scenarios that can take this awareness off the rails. The first is the tendency to overestimate who would be interested in our knowledge. We may be passionate about it, but we may not be realistic in assuming that everyone wants to share our interests. The opposite scenario is the one in which we are so immersed in our knowledge that we can’t imagine that someone else would find it extraordinary. Or, because something is so familiar to us, we assume that everyone else must also have the same knowledge.

In any of these scenarios it is important to get a realistic sense of who would be interested in sharing the knowledge we possess in order to most effectively move on to the next stage.

3. Developing an awareness of how our potential audience would most efficiently and effectively access our knowledge.
There is no single “right way” to exchange knowledge. What you discover through the first two stages of this project will determine the best way to proceed in stage three.

For example, you have some great research about the most effective and successful ways to stop smoking (that’s the knowledge you possess). You decide that two of your primary targets for sharing this information are people who smoke and want to quit, and the experts that those people may go to for advice. Each audience needs a different tool to reach them. To reach smokers who want knowledge about quitting, you can create a colourful and visually appealing “Stop smoking” pamphlet, or place a billboard where smokers congregate. To reach the medical experts, you could send them extensive documentation via email, or published academic articles outlining scientifically valid ways they can help their patients become smoke-free.

There are as many ways of sharing knowledge as there are potential audiences. The important thing is to ensure that the method or medium you use to share knowledge with your audience is how they are most comfortable or capable of receiving it.

Keeping these three simple stages in mind will greatly increase the likelihood of successfully transferring your knowledge to the intended audience.

Jerry Causier is the president of Maralo Solutions, a leadership consulting company that specializes in helping social and health care organizations provide a higher level of performance to the communities they serve. He has a Masters Degree in Leadership and Training, specializing in health care from Royal Roads University. Jerry has over 20 years of experience in health care and other organizations in four provinces and internationally. He is also an accomplished marathon runner, triathlete and a former first vice president of Mensa Canada. For more information visit

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