Shop Talk

Common Challenges Lead to Shared Solutions

The Maintenance Institute has developed Shop Talk as a safe space for professionals to share ideas openly, provide insights, and draw upon the collective knowledge and experience of our industry. There is not a stupid question except for the one not asked.

Professionals learn a great deal by explaining their ideas to others, and by participating in activities in which they can learn from their peers. They develop skills in organizing and planning learning activities, working collaboratively with others, giving and receiving feedback, and evaluating their learning. Peer learning is becoming an increasingly important part of many industries, and it is being used in a variety of contexts and disciplines in many countries.

Assume Positive Intent

This is an essential element to the success of our conversations. We are a community of maintenance and operational professionals. We are not often known for being warm and fuzzy folks. We are open, honest, and often direct in our communication. We do not often intend to insult, but in certain circles, we are pretty good at it without even knowing.

This challenge is even more evident in a written dialog. The words we use are not always interpreted exactly as we intend. We each have our own lenses and filters in which we view the world. That is why it is important to ask questions and seek clarity before taking offense.

Read the Whole Thread Before Posting

Read all the posts in a thread before responding so you don’t repeat what others have already said. Try to contribute by clarifying information or sharing a new idea to add to the discussion. Practice professionalism. Reread your posts and edit for clarity and mechanics.

Be Concise and Do Not Dominate Discussion

Share your knowledge, but not to the point of discounting others. If you have something to offer, please share it, but allow everyone to contribute equally to a discussion. Do not waste other’s time by posting basic, repetitive information or blatant self-promotion. Make your point clearly and quickly, there is no need to impress this crowd with vocabulary. Ensure to share resources where people may discover more on their own.

Ask Questions and Participate

If you find something confusing or want to know more, do not hesitate to ask questions. Try to post questions in the appropriate thread. Do not hide in the background; it is not fair to lurk and let others do all the work. Contribute to discussions as much as possible for the benefit of the group.

Be Tactful and Forgive Mistakes

Be critical of ideas, but remember there are other people involved. Be tactful and take an educative approach. Just because you do not agree with another's post does not mean that they are completely wrong. Offer a different perspective, and share examples of possible solutions rather than debating issues.

Share Your Sources

If you use a source, cite it properly. Give credit where credit is due. Include links where appropriate.