Sunday, April 23, 2006

Pride and Prejudice

My wife, Lisa, and I watched the A&E presentation of "Pride and Prejudice" tonight (the one with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy). Don't laugh! It's a very manly show to watch. Right up there with "Die Hard" and "The Terminator"!

Anyway, It is a delightful story. The one thing is, you have to tune your ear a bit to follow the dialog. The language of the time (at least as portrayed in this particular instance) feels a bit round about. The cadences of speech can catch you off guard.

It occurred to me that this is a problem that we in the technical realms can cause without intending it. Often the language we use devolves into jargon and needless technical verbiage. Unless the poor victims of our communication happen to have "tuned their ears" they are rapidly lost in a sea of confusion and frustration. Unlike the amusing antics of the Bennett family, however, our descriptions of the latest in client-server technology can, at best, bring on a glazed look in the eyes.

We need to remember that, in addition to the skills with keyboard and CPU, we must also develop the skills in communication to first understand the needs of our clients and then to make ourselves understood. Personally, I've found that analogy and illustration tend to help quite a bit. Your methods may vary.

Have you ever had a hard time speaking with a technologist? What happened? If you are a technologist how do you communicate what you do to a non-techie?

No comments: