Monday, April 21, 2008

Why non-techinal people want to talk technical

I find it interesting that when conversation begins between individuals of varying backgrounds of expertise, the domain jargon in each case seems to impress the individual who is not experienced in that area, while at the same time confusing as well. Why would anyone respect complex and isolated knowledge that does not translate given domain terminology?

The sad truth is, there is no glory or praise deserved when speaking with an individual who is not familiar with your expertise, and then forcing them to understand the concepts you understand with the same verbiage, terminology and language that you have come accustom too.

In my own experience, technology often gets the "cool" or "nerd" appeal. Businesses all have a technology department. They need technology to make their lives easier, to make it easier to conduct business. Business in most cases is not the technology, and so shouldn't be the languages used to communicate solutions, or to describe the business. To non-technical people, those that can do technical things must be smart, and are for some reason, immediately respected. Through this, I can understand why a non-technical person would want to talk the talk: to feel they've gained some knowledge and are more intelligent about the matter.

A technical individual should not burden an outsider with their terminology and language. This is acceptable within the field, but not beyond it. The goal is to understand each other so a solution can likely be built to make the non-technical person's life easier through technology.

My suggestion to technical folks is this... Stop trying to feel better about yourself by confusing your client via terminology and language. Feel better about yourself by delivering a solution that is understood and is adapted to your client's needs as a person. Remember, the rest of the human race as a basic need, to be better humans. The point of technology is to make people be better people, or a business a better business.

Aren't we better off when we understand each other? I think so.

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