Lesson #3: Traditional research formats and your own communications channels allow you to build and strengthen your reputation on the field but continuously reformat your research findings according to where you are and with whom- if you really want them to be used
If you are genuinely concerned about producing research that is of value for practice, there is no single communications plan or strategy that will take you there unless it builds on what you have already been communicating and you are able to reformat and reframe findings to link them with ongoing debates and events.
Throughout these years, we have found the importance of sharing your main findings in different formats, spaces and with different groups of people. If you want your knowledge to be used by practitioners and not only discussed by academics or experts, you should take it with you everywhere you go and be alert in terms on how to link what you have learned/produced with the interests, needs and questions that are continuously shared in networking spaces. Specific knowledge is more used when shared in face to face events -both capacity building ones where individuals attend expecting to learn something as well as those mainly centered in facilitating networking among colleagues where knowledge circulates in a less formal manner. Why are such events a more effective way to communicate research? Quite simple: by talking and interacting with people around issues that are really relevant for them (they are interested and thus are talking about these things or reflecting upon them in this type of events) one has the clear opportunity to convey knowledge in a way that relates to an ongoing conversation and a real need/interest. Timing is perfect: instead of trying to be heard or seen among myriad of other messages and stimuli research arrives to answer a question that is already there.
This does not mean that one should completely dismiss traditional channels. On the contrary, communications through usual channels such as web site/blogs, e-mailing, and newsletters is usually very effective for institutional purposes, in terms of building your reputation and generating awareness about your work. Constant communication of relevant knowledge in a very cluttered space allows you to always be in the radar of the most important players. They might not pay attention to your research today but they are aware of what you know that could become relevant or useful when the need arises. Even more, of course if you are there to talk about it once again.