I came across an internal blog post about making sense of the intranet social networking tools. Joseph, a communications assistant from the UK, asked us to help him make sense of the overwhelming choices we have in terms of Web 2.0 tools. When I checked out the wiki he created, I found out that Joseph was doing his Ph.D. dissertation on social computing in the enterprise. This just happened to be the area that I got my masters in, so I sent him an instant message and I shared a copy of my thesis with him, in the hope that my bibliography might save him some time. He had read some of my blog entries, but he hadn’t realized I had done my master’s research in the same area. I then proceeded to brain dump a whole bunch of tips, such as:
I tried to squeeze as much as I could in half an hour, but I’m sure I’ll think of other tips! I loved just passing on everything I could think of. It was the best way to give back to all the people who helped me with my research, and I was happy to have stumbled across someone else who could learn from what I did. Besides, it was the Right Thing to Do.
Thank you, blogs, for this opportunity to help!
When Melissa, an associate partner in Learning Strategy, sent me an instant message, I nearly missed it because I was in the middle of an energetic brainstorming session with Aaron, Jen, and Bernie. I’m glad I saw Melissa’s message when I was packing up. She told me how Jennifer (another Learning consultant) had been demonstrating the way we use blogs and wikis to a group of clients. The clients happened to see my post linking to the Lifehack post on how to become insanely useful, and they wanted to know more. Melissa knew that I had crossposted it to my external blog, so she asked my permission to send them a link to it. Of course, I was happy to help, and I was even more thrilled to hear from other consultants also doing social computing adoption and evangelism. Because of that conversation, Melissa invited me to join their Lessons Learned review. I’m looking forward to that. I’m also looking forward to swapping ideas! =)
I shared the Lifehack article because it described many things I work towards, and because I thought other people might like to read it. Looks like that paid off!
Here are some great tips on how to become insanely useful.
- Share what you know
- Be confident in yourself
- Solve the current problem
- Give willingly — even when it’s your job
- Satisfy your own curiosity
- Listen to others
- Don’t take over
- Know when to stop
- Teach, don’t tell
- Be sensitive to people’s feelings and shortcomings
- Ask for help
- Model best practices
- Be reliable
Being useful, even insanely useful, doesn’t mean allowing yourself to be used. It means offering what you can, when you can, and doing so gladly. This applies whether you’re doing favors for friends, working with a team at work, writing instructions, or anything else — set limits, but within those limits, be wholly available.
Lots of people are useful — they do the things they need to do, solve the problems they need to solve, and keep things chugging along. People that are insanely useful are in high demand by the companies they work for, the organizations they take part in, the clients they serve, their friends and family, and society in general because they not only solve problems and make things work but they add value to every relationship they take part in.
Check out the article for concrete tips. =)