Communicating with Non-Technical Users

  • waxb18

    SSC Eights!

    Points: 994

    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?

  • Brandie Tarvin

    SSC Guru

    Points: 172471

    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 AdministratorLiveJournal Blog: http://brandietarvin.livejournal.com/[/url]On LinkedIn!, Google+, and Twitter.Freelance Writer: ShadowrunLatchkeys: Nevermore, Latchkeys: The Bootleg War, and Latchkeys: Roscoes in the Night are now available on Nook and Kindle.

  • TomThomson

    SSC Guru

    Points: 104707

    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

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 993661

    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.
    "If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."--Red Adair
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not."
    When you put the right degree of spin on it, the number 3|8 is also a glyph that describes the nature of a DBAs job. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems

  • Grant Fritchey

    SSC Guru

    Points: 395230

    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

    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • Brandie Tarvin

    SSC Guru

    Points: 172471

    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. ๐Ÿ˜›

    Brandie Tarvin, MCITP Database AdministratorLiveJournal Blog: http://brandietarvin.livejournal.com/[/url]On LinkedIn!, Google+, and Twitter.Freelance Writer: ShadowrunLatchkeys: Nevermore, Latchkeys: The Bootleg War, and Latchkeys: Roscoes in the Night are now available on Nook and Kindle.

  • Grant Fritchey

    SSC Guru

    Points: 395230

    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. ๐Ÿ˜›

    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 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • Brandie Tarvin

    SSC Guru

    Points: 172471

    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. ๐Ÿ˜›

    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 AdministratorLiveJournal Blog: http://brandietarvin.livejournal.com/[/url]On LinkedIn!, Google+, and Twitter.Freelance Writer: ShadowrunLatchkeys: Nevermore, Latchkeys: The Bootleg War, and Latchkeys: Roscoes in the Night are now available on Nook and Kindle.

  • Grant Fritchey

    SSC Guru

    Points: 395230

    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. ๐Ÿ˜›

    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 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • Ray K

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 31016

    Apologies for chiming in on a very old topic, but I just now saw this. I presented a SQL Saturday talk about this very topic this past Saturday. Hopefully, I'll have the chance to present it again!

    +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    โ€ŒCheck out my blog at https://pianorayk.wordpress.com/[/url]

  • Brandie Tarvin

    SSC Guru

    Points: 172471

    Ray K (7/27/2015)


    Apologies for chiming in on a very old topic, but I just now saw this. I presented a SQL Saturday talk about this very topic this past Saturday. Hopefully, I'll have the chance to present it again!

    Would have loved to have heard that one. It is a great idea for a presentation.

    Brandie Tarvin, MCITP Database AdministratorLiveJournal Blog: http://brandietarvin.livejournal.com/[/url]On LinkedIn!, Google+, and Twitter.Freelance Writer: ShadowrunLatchkeys: Nevermore, Latchkeys: The Bootleg War, and Latchkeys: Roscoes in the Night are now available on Nook and Kindle.

  • Ray K

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 31016

    Brandie Tarvin (7/27/2015)


    Ray K (7/27/2015)


    Apologies for chiming in on a very old topic, but I just now saw this. I presented a SQL Saturday talk about this very topic this past Saturday. Hopefully, I'll have the chance to present it again!

    Would have loved to have heard that one. It is a great idea for a presentation.

    I'm contemplating whether or not to submit this for another upcoming SQL Saturday. The next two SQL Saturdays that are geographically easy for me to get to are Montreal in November and Providence in December. (Well, there's also the Boston one coming up, but since they're concentrating on BI, I'm not sure how applicable it'd be. I suppose I could submit it there -- ya never know!)

    +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    โ€ŒCheck out my blog at https://pianorayk.wordpress.com/[/url]

  • Ray K

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 31016

    If anyone's interested in this topic, I've spoken about this at two SQL Saturdays (most recently, this past weekend in Providence, RI).

    I submitted my presentation abstract for SQL Saturday #500 in Boston. Assuming they accept my submission, come on out and check out my presentation!

    +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    โ€ŒCheck out my blog at https://pianorayk.wordpress.com/[/url]

  • Wayne West

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 22586

    Ray K (12/14/2015)


    If anyone's interested in this topic, I've spoken about this at two SQL Saturdays (most recently, this past weekend in Providence, RI).

    I submitted my presentation abstract for SQL Saturday #500 in Boston. Assuming they accept my submission, come on out and check out my presentation!

    It might look good on your resume if you turned it in to an article (or series) for SQL Server Central. (hint hint) ๐Ÿ˜›

    -----
    [font="Arial"]Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find information upon it. --Samuel Johnson[/font]

  • Ray K

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 31016

    Wayne West (12/17/2015)


    Ray K (12/14/2015)


    If anyone's interested in this topic, I've spoken about this at two SQL Saturdays (most recently, this past weekend in Providence, RI).

    I submitted my presentation abstract for SQL Saturday #500 in Boston. Assuming they accept my submission, come on out and check out my presentation!

    It might look good on your resume if you turned it in to an article (or series) for SQL Server Central. (hint hint) ๐Ÿ˜›

    It's funny -- I spoke to a presenter (I don't remember whom) at Providence who asked me if I'd written any books. When I said "no," he said to me, "maybe you should."

    Hmmmm . . .

    +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    โ€ŒCheck out my blog at https://pianorayk.wordpress.com/[/url]

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