Monday 16 July 2018

When writing about KM, ditch the long words

Knowledge Management is a simple concept, let's explain it in simple words.

llanfair pg So much of Knowledge Management is about communication; the communication of knowledge, solutions, work-around, tips and hints, the communication of concepts and ideas.

Communication to stakeholders is the main thing we do as part of the change management associated with KM. Knowledge Management can be an alien concept to many people, and we need to be able to explain it to them, That means we may need to translate many of the concepts into simple words.

When this communication takes place through conversation, we tend to use ordinary words, laced with technical terms when needed. But when we write, somehow things don't seem to be so simple. We set aside the short and simple words,  reach for the fancy phrases and the longest words we know, and we perpetrate polysyllabic obfuscation.

Here's one I was reading earlier.
"the exploitation of complementary knowledge resources across businesses leads to a significant market- and accounting-based corporate performance effect".
which means "you can increase profit and market share by re-using knowledge"

And another
"To maintain connectivity and freshness of content within your knowledge ecosystem consider implementing a technology enabled knowledge transfer system".
I think that what this means is  "You can keep your knowledge up to date if you have the tools to communicate online"

And as much as I admire the work of teh late great Carl Frappaolo, his definition of KM lacks simplicity.
"Knowledge Management (KM) is the leveraging of collective wisdom and experience to expedite responsiveness and innovation".
I think this means "Knowledge Management is using what we all know, to respond faster and to come up with new ideas".

I am not sure any of us would say "expedite responsiveness" out lound in a conversation, but somehow it seems OK to write it.  I don't know why this happens. It probably happens to me as well - when you write you reach for the Long Words bottle, and sprinkle it liberally over the text. I am well aware that I have set myself up here for people to come up with examples of polysyllabic obfuscation from this blog, but I do try and keep things simple myself.

The perpetuation of polysyllabic obfuscation through redundancy and obtuse reiteration is often unnecessarily repeated as a distinct disservice to clarity and brevity.

Instead let's keep it simple!

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