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Writing To The Point

December 04, 2017 | Natalie Frei | Methods & Tools |

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Rating: 4.0 out of 5

What is the message? Finding the answer to this question is harder than expected, but the struggle pays off, and not just when writing a journalistic text.

By Markus Mugglin
translated from German by Natalie Frei

 

 

 

Internal dossiers, memos, concept paper, mission report and other documents are daily affairs at SDC. The terms correctly suggest that these are no light and sweet stories; they don’t follow the rules of storytelling by dragging a hero into the limelight. They lack the emotional touch of the human interest section. It’s about facts and figures, dry information, summed up in differentiated and analytical ways to convey as precise a picture as possible to peers and superiors. Fortunately, some people might think. This seems like a last fortress against screaming headlines and especially against Twitter.

 

Chaos in a text is the reader's worst nightmare (credit: PEXELS)

Chaos in a text is the reader’s worst nightmare (credit: PEXELS)

 

Factual, objective, unemotional, lengthy, detailed, unexcited. Those are the adjectives generally associated with administrative writing or “officialese”. Does this mean that there is automatically no learning from journalism for these text formats? For instance, is it really useful to start off a “Dossierbeitrag” with the context and a look into the past? Can you really expect the reader of a concept paper to fight their way through preface, context, institutional embodiment and five more subchapters before finally reaching your “next steps”? Is the question “what now?” a satisfying punchline? I have my doubts.

Structure is your friend

Even – or especially – extensive texts should learn from journalistic structures in news stories and reports. They should start by answering the five “w-questions”. Who has done what, where, when and why? The answers to these questions make for a nice lead text, placed directly under the title and before the main body. They tell the prospective reader in a tight space what this text is about and why he or she should read it.

 

Structure is one of the most important quality criteria in every text (credit: bandi / Flickr)

Structure is one of the most important quality criteria in every text (credit: bandi / Flickr)

 

Love your reader

Finding the right phrasing is hard. Who doesn’t know the occasional fear of a blank sheet of paper? There are different ways of overcoming this fear. Most importantly, keep in mind that your first try doesn’t need to be your last. Counterchecking, revision and rephrasing are helpful steps in the process of condensing your key Messages.

 

This procedure is not simply due to the common pattern. It expresses that a text is addressed to an audience. The thoughts are ordered and weighted. These measures ensure the reader-friendliness of a text, which should be the goal of every writer. The reader is the writer’s customer.

 

Always take the reader's point of view when writing (Flickr / Kate Ter Haar)

Always take the reader’s point of view when writing (Flickr / Kate Ter Haar)

Readers should not have to decipher your text. Try to focus on what exactly you want to say instead of what else you always wanted to mention. This doesn’t mean that you need to get rid of differentiations, complexity or the greater picture of a subject. However, the complexity of a topic should not be spread first. It follows later.

 

This is not just a rule taken from journalism. Even the sciences have structuring that ensures reader-friendliness; abstract, introduction and conclusion. This clear structure is also suitable for administration internal dossiers, memos, concept papers or mission reports. Success is almost guaranteed; the clearer a text is written in a short as possible form, the greater its Impact.

 

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Credit portrait Picture: Daniel Rihs

Interviews Part II: Vom guten Fragen & Unterbrechen

November 14, 2017 | Natalie Frei | Methods & Tools, SDC Experiences |

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IMG_3667

Nach dem Vorgespräch fängt die Arbeit erst richtig an. Wie muss ich fragen, um die gewünschten Antworten zu erhalten? Wie steige ich ein und wie unterbreche ich? Dieser Blog behandelt das Vorgehen beim eigentlichen Interview.

Hansjörg Enz

 

 

Mit einer Balkonfrage einsteigen

Ein guter Einstieg kann gelingen mit einer sogenannten Balkonfrage. Sie beginnt mit einer informativen Einleitung, Beispiel „Policy Demokratisierung“: „Angela Muster, ein Ziel der Schweizer Entwicklungshilfe ist es, Ländern zu helfen, lokale Verwaltungen aufzubauen, ihnen Verantwortung zu geben, allgemein: die Länder „demokratischer“ zu machen. Jetzt gibt sich die DEZA für diese Arbeit neue Leitlinien, eine neue Policy. Spätestens jetzt muss eine Frage folgen.

Wie wär’s damit: „Was bedeutet die neue Policy für die Institution und welche Leitlinie gibt sie uns?“. Nicht sehr spannend, und vor allem verleitet sie die Interviewte dazu, lange zu erzählen. Effekt: Der Zuschauer zappt weg. Wie wär’s mit diesen Fragen:

„Was ist denn wirklich neu an der neuen Policy?“

„Warum eine neue Policy, war die bisherige nicht erfolgreich (oder salopper: ein Flop?)“

Oder salopper mit einer Suggestivfrage: „Dass sie jetzt eine neue Policy brauchen, zeigt, dass ihre Arbeit gescheitert ist“.

Bei allen diesen Fragen ist klar: Die Interviewte kann nur kompetent wirken, wenn sie die Frage kennt und eine kurze knappe Antwort vorbereitet hat – also unbedingt ein Vorgespräch führen!

 

Die Balkonfrage kann ein eleganter Einstieg ins Interview sein. Credit: Pixabay

Die Balkonfrage kann ein eleganter Einstieg ins Interview sein. Credit: Pixabay

Was bedeuten DDLG, WKL und Backstopping?

Gefilmte Interviews schauen ZuschauerInnen nur einmal, sie müssen also auf Anhieb folgen können. Das bedeutet: einfache gesprochene Sprache, keine Abkürzungen, kein Fachchinesisch. Einfach zu reden fällt vielen Experten schwer, denn die Probleme sind ja oft sehr komplex. Setzen Sie die Latte nicht zu hoch. Wenn die KollegInnen sagen: „So falsch war es nicht, wie du’s erklärt hast“, und der Zuschauer denkt: „Jetzt habe ich etwas Interessantes erfahren, jetzt verstehe ich das besser“, so ist das Ziel erreicht.

Die Sprache sollte einfach und verständlich sein. Bei Verwirrung klicken die ZuschauerInnen weg. Credit: Pixabay

Die Sprache sollte einfach und verständlich sein. Bei Verwirrung klicken die ZuschauerInnen weg. Credit: Pixabay

 

Langredner unterbrechen

  • In gut vorbereiteten Experten-Interviews sollte es keine langen Antworten geben. Was machen InterviewerInnen, wenn es trotzdem passiert:Mit Handmikrophon arbeiten. InterviewerInnen können dem Langredner dann zeigen, dass sie zu Wort kommen wollen. Sie deuten an, dass sie das Mikrophon wegziehen werden.
  • Mit einer stoppenden Handbewegung zeigen, dass man zu Wort kommen will.
  • Stichwort aufnehmen. „…und da gibt es natürlich auch Fälle von Korruption“ – reinspringen – „Korruption, da möchte ich nachhaken….
  • Reissverschluss-Technik „ … und da gibt es natürlich auch Fälle von Korruption“ – reinspringen und Satz weiterführen „denen Sie natürlich nachgehen müssen, haben Sie dazu auch die Mittel?“

 

 

Meist reichen auch dezentere Handgesten aus, um zu unterbrechen. Credit: Kremlin

Meist reichen auch dezentere Handgesten aus, um zu unterbrechen. Credit: Kremlin

 

Interview einfach nachbearbeiten

Im Normalfall arbeiten DEZA-Interviewerinnen mit nur einer Kamera. Das schafft ein Problem: Die ZuschauerInnen sind sich gewohnt, immer die redende Person zu sehen. Dazu müssen die Kameraleute vom einen zum andern Interviewpartner schwenken. Das schaffen nur geübte Profis. In DEZA-Videos behilft man sich damit, dass die Fragen auf Schrifttafeln eingeblendet werden. Es gibt eine attraktivere Lösung: Die Fragen gleich nach dem Interview im gleichen Raum, in der Position des Interviews nachdrehen, Kamera auf dem Interviewer. Dieses Rohmaterial lässt sich mit einem einfachen Schnitt-Programm wie iMovie (für Mac) mit etwas Übung rasch zusammenschneiden.

Wenn Sie mehr wissen möchten

Diese Themen behandelte der Workshop „Interview“ am 5. September 2017 bei der DEZA in Bern. Das Skript dazu können Sie hier herunterladen oder lesen Sie Multimedia Storytelling inside SDC – A Practical Guide.

Der Trainer, Hansjörg Enz, arbeitete als Journalist u.a. für Radio aktuell, SRF Tagesschau und als Journalistenausbildner an der ZHAW und für die Deutsche Welle Akademie in Ländern wie Kongo, Burundi, Kamerun.

 

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Interviews Part I: Kein Interview ohne Vorgespräch

November 07, 2017 | Natalie Frei | Methods & Tools, SDC Experiences |

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IMG_3667Besser ein Videointerview als ein hundertseitiger Bericht. Aber die Aufmerksamkeitsspanne ist auch bei Videos eher kurz, deshalb müssen sie gut geplant und durchdacht sein, damit die Zuschauer nicht wegklicken. Eines der wichtigsten Instrumente für ein gelungenes Interview ist das Vorgespräch.

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Sparking attention with visual workshop agendas

October 30, 2017 | Blog Admin | Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools |

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aP1420370aPresenting the workshop agenda is a unique moment for sparking energy, motivation and curiosity. A visual agenda gives a first clue what will happen in the workshop and serves as orientation all along the workshop. As facilitator, you can show where the group is in the process; and as participant you know what will happen next and how you can engage.

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Explorative Thinking With Photographs

October 02, 2017 | Natalie Frei | Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools |

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5

quadraticA picture is not only worth a thousand words but it can also elicit a thousand words. As an audio-visual anthropologist and digital storyteller, Darcy Alexandra has studied the relationship between text and pictures for more than 10 years. She employs audio-visual production like photo and video documentation and digital storytelling as a means of participatory inquiry with diverse research partners. In an SDC Lunch & Learn she encouraged participants to explore new ways to look at and use images.

By Natalie Frei

Photo elicitation

In their everyday routine, most people use images to illustrate things. They want to say or write something and then look for the fitting image to underline the meaning and make it more tangible. Photo elicitation goes the other way around: it starts with the image. Meaning is then created through mindful perception and reflection of the photo or drawing, and dialogue that aims to develop a kind of collaborative analytics. This technique is not only creative but it can also help to open up topics that are difficult to talk about, hidden or unseen – for example issues of power, race, gender, sexuality or conflict. After all, as Darcy argued, images can powerfully evoke information, emotion and ideas.

Image elicitation can be used to start discussions about sensitive topics.

Image elicitation can be used to start discussions about sensitive Topics.

 

 

Photo documentation: Through an asylum seeker’s lens

In an anthropological research project with asylum seekers in Ireland, Darcy has used photo documentation with the asylum seekers to build confidence and trust to discuss and analyze asylum policy, experiences of migration, and living-conditions for asylum seekers in Ireland. This created a dialogue and helped social scientists, NGOs and governmental organizations to better understand the situation and needs of asylum seekers. “As pictures are frequently used against asylum seekers, it also empowered them to contest some of the stereotypes and misunderstandings about them and the reasons why they were in Ireland”, says Darcy. See the project here

 

Darcy Alexandra explains how photo documentation helped in an anthropological project with asylum seekers in Ireland.

 

How to get started

Image elicitation starts by taking ample time to look at a picture. The following questions help to discover new viewpoints and angles:

  • What is in / outside the Image?
  • What is surprising / unexpected?
  • What does the photo raise (e.g. emotions, questions, topics, associations)
  • What information / affect is evoked?

 

 

Image elicitation can be a very collaborative process. Participants in Darcy's Lunch & Learn at SDC in Bern.

Image elicitation can be a very collaborative process. Participants in Darcy’s Lunch & Learn at SDC in Bern.

 

How to use images in your work

As images have the power to evoke so many different things, there are many diverse ways of using them for your work.

Images can spark dialogues and evoke questions.

Images can spark dialogues and evoke questions.

 

Darcy’s selection of how making and using photographs can help:

  • Reflect and evaluate
  • Document and contest
  • Express and propose
  • Analyze
  • Make visible and tangible the over-looked and the unseen
  • Create dialogue
  • Pose questions and provoke
  • Build connections and associations
  • Make meaning
  • Evoke and inspire

 

Darcy on why and how to integrate photo elicitation into SDC’s work and how to deepen your relationship with Images.

 

 

 

Links & Further Reading

 

 

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Inspiring inputs for conversation

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Hynek Bures neuNadiaPresentations are more than information delivery. Presentations should inspire conversation. When giving a presentation, we should always remind ourselves that the presentation is about the audience; and that the presenter has a supportive and facilitative role. Let’s flip our presentations and start with a question and a first small conversation. Let the audience talk before we talk.

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Speaking in the first-person: A dynamic way to share knowledge

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darcyMuch governmental writing is devoid of the first-person narrative. This approach to knowledge sharing can appear more objective. However, behind every text is an author who holds opinions and perspectives. Writing and speaking from a first-person point of view can make unique and diverse insights more transparent and accessible.

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Debora_Kern

PowerPoint presentations can be dull. But well designed slides can support the delivery of your presentation. Slides that are visual, catchy and easy to grasp are best. By observing some basic do’s and don’t’s you can make the difference with your presentation and pass your message.

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Reading recommendations for facilitators

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Rating: 4.3 out of 5

NadiaThere is no shortcut in learning to facilitate. The best teacher is practice followed by observation and reflection through peer exchange, trainings and reading. Facilitation is creative work. Every workshop is an invitation to build anew the reflection and conversation space for participants to explore, learn and understand. This blog post presents three books for facilitators, beginners as well as experienced facilitators; they provide insights and ideas for planning and designing successful workshops

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Lab office series, episode 3: Dare to experiment!

June 29, 2017 | Natalie Frei | Methods & Tools |

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quadraticAfter the last two episodes, we know how to design and furnish a lab office and which doors to knock at for advice. The last episode of this trilogy focuses on how to become operational and how to develop your lab’s full potential. Most importantly, we will explore how to make a lab office a real innovative lab space.

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Lab office series, episode 2: The Google Effect

June 22, 2017 | Natalie Frei | Change Stories, Learning Elsewhere |

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quadraticLab offices and coworking spaces are popping up like mushrooms. After the last episode, in which SDC’s Knowledge-Learning-Culture division visited different labs in the international cooperation field, this episode tries to get behind the global lab hype with a focus on philosophy and interior design. As you might have guessed, Google is at the forefront of this trend.

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Lab office series, episode 1: Discovery Tour

June 13, 2017 | Natalie Frei | Change Stories, Methods & Tools |

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quadraticIn May, a delegation of SDC’s Knowledge-Learning-Culture division went on an expedition to discover new forms of office design and collaboration. Excited about the prospect of reorganizing our division, we set out to seek inspiration in the global lab trend. We visited five organizations with laboratory aspects in the international cooperation field and took notes.

By Natalie Frei, SDC

 

More than a year after being scattered across different buildings and floors, the Knowledge-Learning-Culture Division (KLC) will move into new offices later in 2017. As we’re constantly encouraging our colleagues to use creative tools and to think outside the box, it seems fitting to create our new office accordingly. We went to Bonn and Geneva to talk to organizations that have either installed their offices as labs or work in a similar area as KLC; information, knowledge and network management.


UNSSC Knowledge Center for Sustainable Development, Bonn

unb-blurbs-logo-UNSSC[1]

Situated in a beautiful castle overlooking the Rhine, the Center has a natural comparative advantage. When entering the castle, it’s immediatley visible that the interior of the Center shares the lab philosophy: open, transparent, inviting, collaborative, creative . “Office Setup has tremendous impact on work. We wanted to get inspired by Google but the UN interfered”, says Patrick van Weerelt (Head of the Center). Nevertheless, the office turned out to be quite open spaced, colorful and tech savvy. The colors correspond with the SDGs, the furniture is very adjustable and the rooms promote informality.

It started in 2015 with the goal to provide training for the Agenda 2030 for UN staff and other stakeholders (member states, civil society, private sector). Their fifteen staff members operate in very loose hierarchy. “Everyone does what they want but it works”, says van Weerelt. They consider their lab still in a development phase: “You have to say yes to everything at first and then figure out what works and what doesn’t”.

 

UNSSC's offices offer open spaces, gathering areas and meeting rooms with mobile furtniture.

UNSSC’s offices offer open spaces, gathering areas and meeting rooms with mobile furtniture (By profim).

 

 Academy for International Cooperation by GiZ, Bonn

aiz

The Acadamy was developed out of a functional reoganisation and offers about 1700 courses in language, travel preparation, management and others every year. Unfortunately, as they say, they operate from ordinary offices without any “lab facilites”. It’s the way they are structured that ensures innovation. The Academy isn’t granted with an annual budget but they have to refinance themselves with training programme fees paid by their students. On the one hand, this guarantees the Academy’s freedom in their course design and on the other hand forces them to stay creative, customer oriented and competitive.

 

SDG Lab, Geneva

sdglab

The 5-head-operation that means to strenghten the eco-System in Geneva to implement the Agenda 2030 is without any physical facilites for now. They usually meet in UN spaces, which they say is counterproductive. They wish for facilities that promote informality and force people to think outside silos. They see their main task in four areas:

Convene: To create opportunities for people to meet across silos to form relationships and collect new insight from different perspectives

Connect: Offer opportunities for Networking between different stakeholders

Amplify: Tell stories about success and failure in various context for others to learn from

Innovate: Provide space for testing solutions, to be experimental

 

The Knowledge-Learning-Culture delegation on discovery tour in Geneva.

The Knowledge-Learning-Culture delegation on discovery tour in Geneva.

 


Diplo Foundation, Geneva

Diplo_Logo
Diplo was founded to support and train diplomats from developing countries and evolved into a hub that caters information and capacity development “just in time” for complex subjects that are difficult to stay up to date with. They still offer courses – many of them in a nearby park – and operate the Geneva Internet Platform to publish information, for example on cyber policy, and news from around the world. They operate similar to a global media corporation and employ information curators – alias foreign correspondents – around the world. In their lab in Geneva, which is an ordinary office for now, they filter all the information and publish news in the “Digital Watch” section of their platform and organize a monthly lunch briefing that is livestreamed on the internet.

 

UNOSAT by UNITAR, Geneva

unosat-1030x520

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research was established in 1963 to train the many emerging nations at the time and their diplomats. UNOSAT is based in Geneva and their core business is satelite imagery and analysis. We visited them to get some input on technology. For instance, they are experimenting with virtual or augmented reality to “put people on the ground” for training purposes, e.g. into a disaster situation. For smaller productions like videos, they recommend to use a 360° camera to create a comparable effect. In UNOSAT’s experience, people associate social media with leisure and email with work. Therefore, to boost social interaction and informal knowledge sharing, they use Workplace by Facebook, which works the same way as Facebook but isn’t public. Our division is currently testing it and we really like it so far.

 

The next episodes of this trilogy will be published weekly.

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May 17, 2017 | Blog Admin | Methods & Tools |

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Workshop space is precious space we want to use wisely. Creating the right conditions is the facilitator’s job. It is part of the design process to think about how to create these conditions and the ambiance conducive for working and learning together in a productive and inspiring way. In this blog post, we share our reflection on what it takes and why it matters to create a common ground for working together.

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K4D and the Trouble of Measuring Impact

April 21, 2017 | Natalie Frei | Change Stories, Learning Elsewhere |

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Rating: 4.3 out of 5

quadraticAt the beginning of April, Knowledge Managers from diverse backgrounds travelled to Geneva to witness the formal inauguration of the Knowledge for Development (K4D) Partnership and to honor the UN Joint Inspection Unit’s (JIU) report on Knowledge Management in the United Nations system. There was a broad consensus that the lack of ways to measure impact inhibits the potential of knowledge management and that the community needs to raise awareness for the importance of KM in preventing reinventions of the wheel.

By Natalie Frei, SDC

 

Change is a matter of knowledge

Last October, the UN’s Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) published a report on the state of KM in the UN system. According to JIU “knowledge is the main force that determines and drives the ability of private and public organizations to act efficiently”. The JIU concludes that KM is an indispensable tool to achieve the SDGs.

One of the biggest challenges is the fact that the impact of KM cannot be explicitly measured in terms of monetary savings:

KM prevents the waste of money, time and human resources and one cannot measure what is prevented.

UN managers’ investments in KM tend to be reluctant or to focus on quantifiable knowledge only while there are insufficient policies in place to retain tacit knowledge associated with human resources and experiences.

The authors of the JIU report were honored with the Knowledge Management Award 2017.

The authors of the JIU report were honored with the Knowledge Management Award 2017.

The Agenda Knowledge for Development

Shortly after the Agenda 2030 was ratified in 2015, a coalition of civil society organizations, enterprises and academics, initiated and led by Knowledge Management Austria (KMA), started a two-year process that resulted in the Agenda Knowledge for Development. The goals of the agenda were based on statements by knowledge managers from various backgrounds.

In order to achieve the 13 goals to strengthen the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs, the Agenda K4D demands action on the individual, private and public sector levels. Therefore, KMA decided to pass on the baton to the newly created K4D Partnership.

 

A partnership with many visions

At the conference, speakers from very different backgrounds shared their ideas and visions. Here, too, one of the recurring topics was the lack of ways to measure the impact of KM and the associated difficulties of funding new projects. Overall, the “culture of accountability” was criticized and several participants called for dealing more openly with mistakes.

Francesco Pisano (UN Library): “We should focus on collecting total failures because they’re dangerous and we can’t afford to make the same mistakes over and over. We can make new mistakes.”

Helen Gillman, IFAD: “The reality of working in a large development organization nowadays is a tremendous pressure to deliver, which affects learning negatively”.

Ian Thorpe, UNICEF: “Introducing a storytelling approach can lend a voice to tacit knowledge and serve as evidence of change.”

Future technology was discussed as an important factor for equal access to information in developing countries; in the future, artificial intelligence should become a public good. In operational KM, the biggest challenge is the abundance of information – filtering and prioritizing is key.

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To keep up the momentum

The goal of the partnership is to keep the innovatory spirit of the conference alive and to share ideas and good practices to improve KM and raise awareness for knowledge as a key asset globally. How the K4D Partnership will distinguish itself from other partnership organizations like the Km4Dev group or Knowledge for Development without Borders remains to be seen. At the conference, most participants asserted their dedication to the cause by signing the partnership declaration but no decisions for concrete action were taken.

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Recommendations

The JIU’s recommendations for the UN can be generalized for any organization. Apart from introducing KM strategies and policies including measures for implementation at all levels, one of the most striking items recommends embedding KM skills and knowledge-sharing abilities in staff performance appraisal systems, job descriptions and organizational core competences.

The Agenda K4D’s recommendations align with JIU’s for the most part. They stress the importance of experimenting with new technology and sharing knowledge and good practices generously.

Zef Mazi, IAEA: “Knowledge is the only thing that as we share it, we have more of it.”

P1020630

Further information and related Stories

Agenda Knowledge for Development
Knowledge Management in the United Nations System (by JIU)
Knowledge Management Austria (KMA)
KM4Dev Community

Effective Presentation

April 13, 2017 | Natalie Frei | Methods & Tools, SDC Experiences |

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5

quadraticIn the last Lunch & Learn, Yvonne Vogel talked – and sang – tips on how to overcome inner constraints and become a better presenter. Key to any successful presentation is an audience-centered approach, which many people struggle with. However, there are some simple exercises to make it easier.

By Natalie Frei, SDC

 

You have studied your PowerPoint presentation for hours and know the accompanying phrases by heart. To be completely fail-proof, you brought numbered notes to carry like a shield.

Just ignore the audience, picture yourself in a bubble.

Yet, regardless of your preparation, you cannot suppress the gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach and right before you hit the stage your knees get wobbly, your palms sweaty and the sudden void in your brain screams for oxygen, though your lungs are full.

Panic blanks your mind and mumbling and stumbling your way through the presentation is all you’re left with.

Focus on the How

According to Yvonne Vogel, presentation coach at fairness@work, most people focus too much on the WHAT instead of the HOW when preparing for a presentation, which is a mistake.

In fact, there have been studies that showed that content only made 10% of a presentation’s lasting impression on the test audience. Much more important were language and voice (30%) and body language and facial Expression (60%).

Do not ignore your audience under any circumstances.

Without that connection, you won’t convey anything to anyone.

The best way to create a connection is passion and eye contact. You have to find something in your presentation where you can pour your heart into. If you are passionate about a subject, it is much easier to look people in the eye and show every single person in the room that you are talking specifically to them.

Reading from notes is one of the easiest ways to lose the audience.

Reading from notes is one of the easiest ways to lose the audience.

Language & Voice

At the Lunch & Learn, Yvonne pointed out the importance of language:

If you want to prove intellectuality, write a book. In presentations, it’s one statement per sentence! Keep it clear, simple and unambiguous. And most importantly: dare to make breaks.

When you are nervous, your breath tends to be shallow, which makes your body and voice tense. Therefore, you should take some minutes before your presentation to warm up your voice: yawn, bubble, sing and moan.

Breathe into your stomach and EXHALE.

This will release tension in your body and make both your voice and your body language more natural.

Deep breath and exhalation help against tension.

Deep breath and exhalation help against Tension.

Authentic Body Language

Sweepingly authentic body language comes with adequate self-perception. Yvonne showed us some everyday mental exercises. For instance,

just stand there.

Go to a public place – like a bus stop – and stand there for a few minutes. Stand on both feet, let your arms dangle with your hands empty, put your chest out and breathe.

It might feel awkward at first but with practice, it will make you feel more comfortable as a presenter because you can take a break and just stand there.

You don’t need to deliver a performance – your authentic expression is enough.

Consciously Standing in public is a great exercise for more self-confidence.

Consciously Standing in public is a great exercise for more self-confidence.

 

Further information and related stories

Voice warming tutorials: 1 / 2

Dare to draw! Use simple drawings to communicate, engage and energize groups

March 09, 2017 | Blog Admin | Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools |

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Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Sarah mugshot 2Caro Van Leeuwen recently posted an inspiring video about how she started using drawings during her internship at SDC, encouraging others to try it too. We did! At a recent Lunch & Learn event, we experimented with simple drawings of people, things and concepts. But what can we do with these drawings? And how can we go further?

By Sarah Clark (more…)

How your story tells you how it wants to be told

February 15, 2017 | Blog Admin | Let's Talk Visual |

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Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Beat Rüdt

Irritated by the title of this post? You shouldn’t be. During the “Lunch & Learn” events and the multimedia and video workshops we learned, that there are a lot of good stories at SDC that are worth to be told and that can be told in many ways.

By Beat Rüdt, MAZ

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Being the facilitator – a visual reflection

February 08, 2017 | Blog Admin | SDC Experiences |

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Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Jany pictureNadiaThis blog post draws a colorful picture of what it means to be the facilitator. A facilitator has many roles to play before, during and after a workshop or learning event. But what are these roles? And how do we as facilitators see ourselves? During a Lunch & Learn event a group of facilitators reflected these questions in a visual way and uncovered a series of interesting metaphors. 

By Jany Barraut and Nadia von Holzen (more…)

Let’s Draw

February 01, 2017 | Blog Admin | Let's Talk Visual |

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Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Caro van LeeuwenWhen I started my internship at SDC I’d never have thought that drawing would become so important in my work. Sometimes you just don’t find material to visualize what you want to say. This makes me grab my pencil and draw – and it adds a new twist to the presentation! You say you don’t have the talent to draw? Try and exercise and you will see: it is not that difficult. This video is meant to encourage you to discover your drawing skills, too! 

Caro Van Leeuwen, SDC (more…)

Make good use of internal competencies

January 03, 2017 | Leonie Pock | Methods & Tools |

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Valerie RossiSince 2010 SDC has developed a new approach for evaluating country strategies through a pilot process. Country evaluations support the definition of new cooperation strategies strategically and stimulate learning. The central pillar of this new approach is the promotion of the exchange and the sharing of knowledge within our institution and among an evaluation team led by an external consultant. What is, therefore, the major difference between country strategy evaluations and other external evaluations? SDC staff is involved in the evaluation team, acts as an evaluator but with an inside knowledge of the institutional issues and debates. A capitalization process of eight country strategy evaluations was undertaken in 2016. Different feedback and opinions of the involved people (peers, consultants, colleagues from the field and from HQ) are presented in the illustrations below.

By Valérie Rossi, SDC (more…)

Questions Shape Our Stories

December 12, 2016 | Blog Admin | Let's Talk Visual |

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Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Darcy Alexandra NadiaThe story circle is a crucial first step in making digital stories. Sharing story ideas in the circle helps clarify what the stories are really about. It is an intense group process of joint reflection and inquiry that is meaningful for everyone involved. Mid November, the SDC Learning & Networking Team organized its 4th Digital Storytelling workshop in Bern. In this workshop, “Pivotal Stories in Intercultural Contexts,” the story circle was once again the starting point for a dynamic process of reflection and dialogue. This process continues throughout the entire workshop as storytellers edit, re-write, read aloud, and polish their scripts to completion. 

By Darcy Alexandra, Inquiry Media and Nadia von Holzen, Learning Moments

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Communicating innovative ideas with video

December 01, 2016 | Leonie Pock | Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools |

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The play button is the most compelling call to action on the web” says Michael Litt, CEO and co-founder of Vidyard, a platform hosting business video content for distribution to websites and social channels. Not very surprising quote considering his position, you may say. But the success of the company reflects also the importance of video not only in marketing but also in other forms of communication. In this blog post, we want to have a closer look at the benefits of video in communication and introduce Lightbulb – a new format for sharing new and innovative learning experiences of SDC collaborators, units and networks. By Leonie Pock

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Value-creation stories for monitoring the value of networks

November 01, 2016 | Leonie Pock | Methods & Tools |

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Rating: 4.3 out of 5

Beverly Wenger-TraynerIn SDC learning is taking place in the networks – learning about approaches, about experiences and about good practices. The networks meet regularly in f2f-events in order to engage in this learning. But does it have an effect? What is the outcome of these events? By Beverly Wenger-Trayner, co-author of the Value Creation Framework

 

 

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