Monday 13 January 2020

Selling KM - how to appeal to head, heart, hands and feet

An effective Knowledge management communication message needs to appeal to the head, to the heart, to the hands, and to the feet of the audience. Here's how.

Communication is one of the 5 tools of KM culture change. Imagine preparing an internal presentation on Knowledge Management to one of your stakeholder groups.  Your aim is to move the group further up the ladder of engagement; ideally to get them into action.

How then do you structure your presentation?

You can use the mantra of head, heart, hands and feet as a checklist to make sure you cover the following 4 areas.


Your KM message must appeal to the head - it must be logical and clear. The head want to understand, and it wants to see a logical case made for KM. There needs to be a business case, based on a logical business driver for knowledge management, and this needs to be explained in a very simple way. It can be really helpful if you get your CEO or another senior person to give you a sound bite in which they “make the logical case”.


Your KM message must appeal to the heart - it must be something that people can connect with emotionally.  A good success story, told on video by the people involved, can begin to convey the emotional impact of knowledge management. The person in the story can tell how much KM helped them, how knowledge management solved a problem, or reduced a risk, or added value, and how they felt about it. Through these stories, you can begin to project a human face onto knowledge management that goes beyond the logical business case. You can make it personal. (See also "selling KM on the emotional case").


Your KM message must be practical.  It cannot be theoretical - it much be something that people can "get their hands around". You must show KM as something doable, and very practical. Explain how it works, what people will do when KM is in place, and how KM fits within the work cycle of the organisation. Explain KM in words that are business-centred, so that people see that KM is a hands-on activity. 


Your KM message must appeal to the feet - it must move people into action.  Make sure that you end the message by providing people with "next steps" they can take. reinforce the idea that KM is not just a theory, but something that will move the organisation forward. Let them know how they can start to "walk the KM walk" as well.

If you address head, heart, hands and feet, your communication will be a major force in changing the KM culture. 

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