Have your answers do double duty

AnswersIn many of our jobs, we have a responsibility to provide answers to queries whether they are generated in email messages, phone calls, walk in visits, or other means. In many cases, we are providing the same answer many times. Perhaps there is a way to better leverage our previous answers.

During the National Extension Conference, Harold Jarche gave a bit of advice that I have taken to heart and implemented in my daily operations. As a consultant, he responds to new queries by first writing a blog post, and then sharing the blog post as a response to the query. Not only does he help the individual who had the question, but it can potentially help many others with the same question. Recently, I have been advocating for this strategy as a way to answer questions in Extension as well as increase Extension’s digital footprint.

As Jarche has mentioned and as I have come to realize, the blog posts become a resource that can be added to and used repeatedly when faced with similar questions. Naturally, when responding to each individual you may have to provide some additional information to personalize the response. However, the blog can provide rich detailed information.

There is very little additional time in writing the blog post compared to crafting an email response. In fact, by reaching back to my previous blog posts, I am actually saving time by not redoing work. There are also additional benefits by sharing through a blog:

  • You are adding to the world knowledge base. Everyone around you can benefit from your knowledge. With email, once your account has been deleted, your corporate knowledge has been wiped clean.
  • Others come to understand what your role is in the larger ecosystem. You become recognized as an expert for your part of the domain.
  • Not only can you reach back in your database of blog entries, so can others. You can also point individuals  to posts others have shared in your organization.
  • Blog posts can be easily shared and information spread through social media tools.
  • Knowledge is not power. The sharing of knowledge is power.” ~ Douglas Merrill

If you have a question, I will work to get you an answer. But I will also be helping a lot more people at the same time.

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