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Communicating with Non-Technical Users Expand / Collapse
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Posted Friday, August 30, 2013 4:49 AM
Grasshopper

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Good Morning All,

After a google search and looking in servercentral I cant seem to find any article or advice as to how to communicate effectively with non-technical users.

Whenever I communicate with non-technicals I explain databases using the example of a library containing the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
The Library is the Database
The Bookshelf is the Table
In laymen's terms.. I organise the encyclopaedia on the bookshelf so it easy to find any article in the encyclopaedia in the shortest time possible.

The issue that I am having is that I have to present some work where i must communicate with non-technical users...is it just putting what dba's do in plain simple english?

Does anyone else have some tips as to how to communicate with non-technicals?
Post #1490071
Posted Friday, August 30, 2013 12:10 PM


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You need to find common ground with them. What work culture thing or real life thing do they all have in common?

For instance, when I was teaching kids about databases, I put things in terms of video games because all the kids played video games. Once we made that connection, explaining things became easy.


Brandie Tarvin, MCITP Database Administrator

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Post #1490253
Posted Friday, August 30, 2013 2:22 PM


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Brandie's right. You have to understand what the nontechnical people do, what their concerns are, what there culture is, so that you can express your technical information in terms of their concepts rather than in terms that they don't understand. Watch out for pitfalls, where a word might mean one thing in their culture and a completely different thing in your technical culture - avoiding that trap is a big step in the right direction.

Tom
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Posted Saturday, August 31, 2013 9:25 AM


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I strongly agree with Brandie and Tom. I usually don't try to teach users about databases unless they're actually interested in how things work. What usually works for me is to listen to them and for ME to ask them questions for clarification. I help them teach me what they know so I can translate their problem correctly in code.

It sounds strange but sometimes the greatest skill of a mentor is to listen well.


--Jeff Moden
"RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for "Row-By-Agonizing-Row".

First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column."

(play on words) "Just because you CAN do something in T-SQL, doesn't mean you SHOULDN'T." --22 Aug 2013

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Post #1490395
Posted Tuesday, September 3, 2013 3:50 AM


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Presumably they all use the internet. Reference known web sites and talk about how they might work. You can use Amazon, Wikipedia, the Internet Movie Database (nicely named) or any number of other sites where people go to look stuff up. That's going to be a lot more topical for most people.

----------------------------------------------------
"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood..." Theodore Roosevelt
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SQL Server 2008 Query Performance Tuning Distilled
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Posted Tuesday, September 3, 2013 7:03 AM


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Grant Fritchey (9/3/2013)
Presumably they all use the internet.


One can hope. I know several older people who barely know what email is let alone what websites are out on the internet.


Brandie Tarvin, MCITP Database Administrator

Webpage: http://www.BrandieTarvin.net
LiveJournal Blog: http://brandietarvin.livejournal.com/
On LinkedIn!, Google+, and Twitter.

Freelance Writer: Shadowrun
Latchkeys: Nevermore, Latchkeys: The Bootleg War, and Latchkeys: Roscoes in the Night are now available on Nook and Kindle.
Post #1490937
Posted Tuesday, September 3, 2013 7:29 AM


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Brandie Tarvin (9/3/2013)
Grant Fritchey (9/3/2013)
Presumably they all use the internet.


One can hope. I know several older people who barely know what email is let alone what websites are out on the internet.


I did say "most". And I would accuse you of being old, but we've already established I'm senior.


----------------------------------------------------
"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood..." Theodore Roosevelt
The Scary DBA
Author of: SQL Server 2012 Query Performance Tuning
SQL Server 2008 Query Performance Tuning Distilled
and
SQL Server Execution Plans

Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software
Post #1490950
Posted Tuesday, September 3, 2013 7:31 AM


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Grant Fritchey (9/3/2013)
Brandie Tarvin (9/3/2013)
Grant Fritchey (9/3/2013)
Presumably they all use the internet.


One can hope. I know several older people who barely know what email is let alone what websites are out on the internet.


I did say "most". And I would accuse you of being old, but we've already established I'm senior.


[types with shaky hands]

'Scuse me, sonny. What did you say? My ear trumpet didn't quite catch that...


Brandie Tarvin, MCITP Database Administrator

Webpage: http://www.BrandieTarvin.net
LiveJournal Blog: http://brandietarvin.livejournal.com/
On LinkedIn!, Google+, and Twitter.

Freelance Writer: Shadowrun
Latchkeys: Nevermore, Latchkeys: The Bootleg War, and Latchkeys: Roscoes in the Night are now available on Nook and Kindle.
Post #1490952
Posted Tuesday, September 3, 2013 7:58 AM


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Brandie Tarvin (9/3/2013)
Grant Fritchey (9/3/2013)
Brandie Tarvin (9/3/2013)
Grant Fritchey (9/3/2013)
Presumably they all use the internet.


One can hope. I know several older people who barely know what email is let alone what websites are out on the internet.


I did say "most". And I would accuse you of being old, but we've already established I'm senior.


[types with shaky hands]

'Scuse me, sonny. What did you say? My ear trumpet didn't quite catch that...


Git offa my lawn... and take that silly horn with you.


----------------------------------------------------
"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood..." Theodore Roosevelt
The Scary DBA
Author of: SQL Server 2012 Query Performance Tuning
SQL Server 2008 Query Performance Tuning Distilled
and
SQL Server Execution Plans

Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software
Post #1490965
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