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Hot Skills


Hot Skills

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Steve Jones
Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Hot Skills

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edward_jeba
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Hi Steve,

It was a great thought provoking editorial. I got a remainder that I need to work on my communication skills and I think it improves with practice.

One of my close friends, Uday, saw my style of writing and talking, and said that the local language influence is evident in my communication.

He also asked me to read many standard books and always use English while communicating in the office. I am trying to follow his good advice and hope to improve on my communication along with my other skills.

Edward.
blandry
blandry
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There's no question that being able to speak "business" (instead of techno-speak) is a boon to anyone's career and day-to-day business skills. What is unfortunate is that so few brilliant technical minds are able to make this transition. It is truly, a skill.

Just as we techno-geeks would have trouble understanding say, a marketing professional talking about "market penetration" and "graduated roll-outs", they can also sometimes look at us as though we are speaking some alien language.

I find the best way to approach this are metaphors. I remember once having someone ask me why they needed more memory and I went into a dissertation on how hard disk is like a book, and RAM is like your brain. The book means nothing and can do nothing until the brain "sucks up" the words and meaning. Hence more brain, more RAM, is a good thing.

On the other hand, I have known way too many geeks who think that techno-speak somehow impresses people who don't understand it. That is a critical mistake. Try to get your boss to pay for some new servers by talking in nanoseconds, terabytes, and quad-core processors. Most CEOs and Executives wont get that. But tell them your current servers are like the old Sopwith Camel bi-planes and you want to purchase some new "F-22 powered" servers, and you might get that budget approval.

Its not dumbing-it-down so much as it is making the advantages apparent with simple metaphors. The goal is to be illustratively understandable, as opposed to impressively confusing.

There's no such thing as dumb questions, only poorly thought-out answers...
jay-h
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I have long argued that being only a computer science person is relatively useless in the real world. The CS knowledge must be accompanied by strong knowledge in at least one other field (business, medicine, science, law, etc) to be really useful.

Additionally there are universal skills that are essential: Ability to write a coherent and understandable paragraph, ability to negotiate constructively (so that all parties get what they are most interested in), ability to guage and defuse tense situations, and ability to establish social connections.

...

-- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --
jcrawf02
jcrawf02
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blandry (9/28/2010)
The goal is to be illustratively understandable, as opposed to impressively confusing.
Very nice!

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"stewsterl 80804 (10/16/2009)I guess when you stop and try to understand the solution provided you not only learn, but save yourself some headaches when you need to make any slight changes."
Ray K
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I have a Bachelor's in computer science and a Master's in technical communication. In addition to my IT background, I also have experience as a professional technical writer. And on top of all that, I teach part-time at the community college level.

I think I can honestly say that I've been around the block when it comes to the importance of communication. I strongly believe that 90% of the world's problems can be solved simply by communication. And when I say "communication," it means both parties are speaking, and -- most importantly -- both parties are receptive to what's being communicated.

(Note: This is not to say I consider myself an expert at communication; I've had more than my share of communication screw-ups!)

I'm constantly amazed as to the number of issues we have that are due to communication problems -- and that's almost always the root cause.

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nelsonj-902869
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Ray K (9/28/2010)
And when I say "communication," it means both parties are speaking, and -- most importantly -- both parties are receptive to what's being communicated.

Both parties need to be "listening" as well. Communication is a two way street, with give and take..and while receptiveness is needed, so is the need to listen to what is being said AND what may not be said. You won't figure that out unless you are listening and paying attention. If the eyes of your listener start to 'glaze over', you're communication is missing the boat. Be observant and see what is happening and take a different tack on the subject.
And, if you don't understand the gobble-dee-gook that the MBA from accounting is jabbering about, then you need to nicely ask for clarification before YOUR eyes glaze over.
sburcombe
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I've found that the most successful people in our department are those with a business background in our company's industry. Since many people don't have that background, it's helpful to get them working in one of the business units for at least a week. They gain a basic understanding of what the front line staff are trying to do, and are better equipped to provide them support. I'd love to be able to do that every year, but so far this is just with new hires.

Simone
Ray K
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nelsonj-902869 (9/28/2010)
Ray K (9/28/2010)
And when I say "communication," it means both parties are speaking, and -- most importantly -- both parties are receptive to what's being communicated.

Both parties need to be "listening" as well. Communication is a two way street, with give and take..and while receptiveness is needed, so is the need to listen to what is being said AND what may not be said.

Actually, I was trying to be inclusive of that. (See? We're displaying an example of this right now! ;-))

I remember talking about the Shannon-Weaver communication model when I was in grad school, and the model has always stuck with me. Granted, the model was originally designed for telecommunication, but it has made its way into social communication theory topics as well.

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SQLRNNR
SQLRNNR
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I think there is a constant reminder of the need to build these communications skills when one deals more frequently with the business. It is a skill that takes practice and constant re-work.



Jason AKA CirqueDeSQLeil
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