We all have expertise in some area. We all know things, some of which it’s nice to share with others.
Many of us who know things have books or manuals or guidelines that help us put what we know in a specific framework, all the more easily to share that knowledge with others in constructive ways. For me, and and others in the mental health field, that would be the fifth and latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5. Published in 2013, this large book is the go-to resource for doctors, therapists, insurance companies and even patients themselves as we try to figure out what is wrong, name it, code it, bill for it, and get paid for making it right.
Others like ministers might turn to the Bible (the real one, not the DSM-5) for source material. Information technology professionals would look to coding manuals for the same reason. Electricians might use schematic diagrams, and architects would pore over plans and drawings and blueprints. Writers would refer to Strunk and White.
The bottom line is that we all have our areas of expertise, and we usually have an adjunctive tool or two that helps us articulate what we know and pass it on to someone else in a credible fashion.
We do this because we want someone else to know what we know. We want to tell them something that we think will fix a problem, make them feel better, or save their soul. There is a need, real or perceived, to share. The most expedient way to do that, of course, is to give them the book, let them read it, copy parts of it, email attachments, cut and paste. Easy enough, right? Tell them, and let them work out the whys and wherefores.
That’s not the best way.
One of the best ways to share real knowledge with others is face to face. Talking. Processing. Back and forth. Questioning. Answering. Challenging. Exploring. Refuting. Explaining. Disagreeing. Agreeing.
As I grow older, both in age and experience, I have found that it is much more important to share knowledge than simply to impart it.
No one likes to be lectured, have boring details read to them, be preached to in a condescending manner, or sterilely instructed.
People like to be included, made part of the process, given options, challenged to make their own decisions and draw their own conclusions. They like to be asked for their opinions. They like to give feedback. They like to matter.
How can we use this very important principle every day, no matter what our job or life circumstance?
Relate to the people you come in contact with. Don’t simply recite things to them.
Share your knowledge and expertise. Don’t be afraid or feel put upon or personally challenged if you find they have done some research of their own and want to make you justify or explain your reasoning or principles. They will learn, but you will too.
Do not read, recite, lecture, or browbeat.
Engage and empower others to be the best they can be, no matter the circumstances or tribulations they struggle with daily.
If you do this and truly share your expertise, knowledge and experience, not only will you be helping another human being, but you will grow and be a more effective disciple in your field.