‘Techies’ need to communicate, too

Posted By Laurie Richards on July 09, 2015 in Customer Service · Leadership & Management

“Techies” often have the reputation of not being very friendly or acting as if they are better/smarter than you.

“Two reputations that are not deserved,” insists Jodie Vesey, who works with us at Laurie Richards & Associates. “You could say that ‘techies’ are the most misunderstood people in business. If anything, this is miscommunication at its worst.”

According to Vesey, many times the miscommunication is initiated when the techie tries to explain a project or program in his or her “language.” Individuals may be intimidated by the knowledge of the techie if they are in a less technical field.

“Remember that your area of expertise can be quite technical, and not everyone has your extensive knowledge,” she says. “Be mindful not to talk over the heads of other people. You will lose their interest quickly.”

One way for a techie to start to change their style is to step out of their comfort zone at a business social function – or even by the water cooler or lunch room. “If it’s a larger function with a lot of new people, make it your goal to introduce yourself to two people you normally do not talk to or know,” suggests Vesey. “Be prepared for small talk and have a couple of generic questions that you can ask people when you get caught during an awkward pause.”

Vesey continues, “A great way to get people talking is to ask them questions about themselves.” Some good topics include asking the person where they grew up, what type of television programs that they like to watch, or if they have read any good books lately. If the person has children or grandchildren, they can talk for hours about them!

“Initiate the conversation and then be prepared to answer these same questions about yourself,” says Vesey.

When you are having face-to-face conversations, remember the high importance of eye contact, says Vesey. If this is difficult for you, then you will need to consciously practice until you are comfortable with giving people eye contact. “This may sound ridiculous, but practice looking yourself in the eyes in the mirror,” she says.

Another simple thing to do is smile. “People do business with people they like and who they perceive as friendly,” notes Vesey. “Smiling also puts other people at ease, and makes you much more approachable.”

Techies should also be aware that telephone skills are important, as well.

“When you are on the phone, do not do other activities at the same time,” emphasizes Vesey. “Do not go through emails, eat or drink. You will not be giving the caller your full attention, and they will know it. This will be a poor reflection on your part.”

Vesey points out that when you leave voice messages, be sure to say your name, your company name and give your call back number slowly and clearly. It is very irritating when someone must play back your message a number of times to retrieve the information. Do not assume that people know who you are or remember your number.

Another irritant occurs during a business meeting when a cell phone goes off. “Your cell phone should never be heard during a business meeting, meal or presentation,” declares Vesey. “Put it on vibrate or turn it off.”

Just because you are a techie doesn’t mean you cannot communicate. Like anything else, though, to improve upon something you need to work at it.

 

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