This website covers knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Rules for Asking Others to Share Knowledge

Along with handling my own e-mail well, I must also help others deal with their e-mail. No, I don't mean standing over their shoulder and telling them which buttons to push. I mean clear writing with specific requests and asking the right people.

Bruce Karney of HP Services posted his list of 10 Rules to the recent AOK Star Series discussion with Dave Pollard, and he has allowed me to repost them here. These are very much geared towards asking questions of experts who you expect to know the answers (or where to find them).

10 Rules of Asking Others to Share Knowledge by Bruce Karney of HP Services (with permission):

  1. Make the subject line very specific; use 5-10 words, not 2-3.

  2. Identify yourself by name, role and organization.

  3. Identify the problem briefly and clearly.

  4. Explain why solving the problem is important to the reader.

  5. Explain exactly what kind of help you want from them.

  6. Specify your deadline.

  7. Tell what you know (and how you learned it), and what you don't know.

  8. Ask for suggestions about who else to ask and what else to do.

  9. Tell what you will do to share what you learn more broadly.

  10. Explain how those who help you will be rewarded or recognized.

There are probably similar sets of rules when I am the responder, or when I have something to say instead of something to ask. As always. Know your audience and keep them in mind.

One word is worth a thousand clicks

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