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Explain It Simply

August 22, 2016

There’s an old saying that goes: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” This definitely rings true for technology today! 
 

Have you ever met with a vendor and needed a thesaurus to translate what they were saying? Us, too. For whatever reason, those of us in tech feel the need to over-complicate in order to prove our value. 
 

Imagine this: you go to the doctor for a diagnosis and the doctor says, “You have synchronous diaphragmatic flutter.” You’d get very concerned, very quickly. But synchronous diaphragmatic flutter in layman terms is just the hiccups. Doctors could use hyper-complex wording to describe your disease, but instead they use simple language and common phrasing. 

 

Why? To simplify the complex. 
 

Step 1: Ease Off the Tech Speak
 

No one cares how smart you are; they care if you can make their lives easier and/or better. So ease off the tech speak. Find ways to draw analogies or parallels to what your partner/customer knows and understands. 
 

“My VGA malware is down, our only choice is to compress and network the back-end capacitor!”
 

While yes, the above is complete gibberish, keep in mind that is exactly how you sound to people outside of IT; and, by the way, you sound like that to a lot of people inside IT when you use jargon. So stop it. 

 

Step 2: Don’t Judge. Solve. 
 

One issue we see from our competitors is an undercurrent of judgement. When we come in to help a customer, it’s without judgement. Our job? Figure out where you are, where you want to go, and how to get you there. That’s it. 
 

Still using a dial up to hit the internet? No judgement! We will, however, recommend you upgrade. Our job in technology is to solve problems, but we are not a jury. If you engage with a vendor who is passing judgement? Run. 

 

Step 3: Educate
 

When solving problems, we need to make sure everyone has a shared understanding. Too many in the tech space (especially vendors) have the attitude, “Sure, we’ll just do it for you, just stay out of our way,” and don’t help the customer understand. That’s not solving problems (see step 2). 
 

Nor is our job in tech to make everyone an expert like we are. But we do need people to understand why we’re doing something and what outcomes those actions will produce. The details on how we do it? Not as important. But stakeholders have to understand the why and the outcome produced. 
 

If you can’t explain it simply, educate, and solve problems? Do us a favor, get out of this space. Technology is complicated; we don’t need people out there making it harder than it needs to be. 
 

By the way, be careful this weekend. I hear there’s a bout of veisalgia going around! 

 

 

 


 

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