I have been providing current awareness and writing web content for many years. Yet it is only recently that I have considered the end product. In an information and writing role, you’ve completed the task when you send the answer or results to the client. But you rarely see the result of your work, and I often wonder why this is.
Information v Knowledge
When client ask for help, I might guess how they use my work but you never know. One might argue that seeing the end result isn’t that important. After all, if your client created value from it, then what more could one do for them?
Some people are happy knowing that they’ve fulfilled a request to the best of their ability. But I think this is what separates an information worker from a knowledge professional. Anyone can find ‘information’, although providing insightful and anticipatory ‘knowledge’ is harder.
Tell me about your end product
My experience is this. The more I know about the client’s end product, the faster and more accurate my response will be. The initial briefing they give me will help me anticipate and visualise their reason for wanting the work.
I appreciate that this isn’t always possible. Sometimes they don’t know exactly what they need! When they contact me they are either early – or late – on in their work. But it is important for clients to know that I can improve the information I provide, if I am familiar with what it’s for.
For instance. if they want a current awareness briefing for a meeting, is my summary broad enough? If it’s an article for a blog post, is the tone correct and do I have all the right key words in place? If I am assisting in any PR, are they ahead of the news curve? Have they been reading the business briefings daily, and if so, is it targeted enough?
I don’t know where the knowledge gaps are. Questions and concerns like these present challenges to me when I am not directly involved in a project.
Get me more involved
Help me to help you. Send me a detailed brief. After reading through that then we may need to have a conversation to fill in any gaps. If you’ve never worked with a knowledge professional before, you might wonder why I can’t just get started. There are other benefits of having a chat. Only when we talk might you realise I have special skills. I might be able to help you more than you think.
Thus you can get me involved from the start by telling me the end.