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I was asked some months ago to assist a masters student in some research they were undertaking into the role of conversation in knowledge exchange. The intention was to look at the challenges and barriers to communication and what techniques and approaches can help overcome them especially in an organisational environment. Last week I got to see the paper she produced and it makes for a fascinating read.

It’s a fascinating topic and we have touched upon the importance of talking and conversation in the nurturing of social knowledge in this blog before. It is particularly interesting when you consider the aspect of generating high touch conversational aspects of social media and how the various tools that currently underpin the social media mindset have both strengths and weaknesses in that process.

The research was particularly interested in how one particular technique can be used to strengthen communication and knowledge activities, and if it had particular benefits through specifically acknowledging and mitigating some of the barriers that can often strangle good conversation.

That technique is known as a Knowledge Café – a deceptively simple but remarkably effective tool developed by David Gurteen. Both Daniela and I have known David for a number of years and have used the technique in the past, and have attended Dave’s training sessions where he can effectively describe the subtle elements that when applied and understood make the approach so successful.

I would like to take the idea and move it into something that is enhanced for application via social media platforms, with specific advice on how to make the best of this in an online mode, but that will have to wait till after Social Media Week.

However if you have never investigated this technique but would like to know more I would heartily recommend that you check David’s extensive website out at http://www.gurteen.com/ and get along to one of David’s regular training sessions. The next one  is on Tuesday 13 September, at the RSA in central London. So plenty of time to get to that and back to Glasgow for Social Media Week.

It’s fascinating how traditional cafes work though and I just want to say a big thanks to Martin Jack – or Jacky to his friends – for making Business Banter such a success. We love it and you deserved the back slaps you got on its first birthday on Friday. Well done mate!

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