We are all called upon weekly (or daily) to explain or defend our work. As technical professionals, video conferences, interfacing with colleagues, documenting analysis, preparing reports, and participating in meetings are all part of the daily grind.
We all stand first and foremost on our technical analysis. Yet it is not enough to crunch numbers if your career (and salary) are to grow along with your subject matter expertise. It is important to relate your work to the ideas that organizational leaders care most about.
These are five reasons every technical professional needs to be a more effective communicator.
#5. You need to explain to your spouse why you are a frustrated, under-appreciated technical professional.
This is one reason to at least be a good communicator. You will not have to worry about this if you are an effective communicator. But if you are neither good nor effective, your spouse is in for a tough life with you. Just ask them.
#4. Every team needs an effective communicator, and most of your peers are not good at it.
Why can't we just all get along? Why are we continually re-doing things? Why do we keep getting dumped on with crazy expectations and crazy deadlines from senior management? Look around.
In a team, effective communication builds trust, strengthens professional relationships, boosts teamwork, creates an esprit de corps, and improves productivity.
#3. Effective communicators get promoted (and make more money)
Studies show that technical professionals make between 30 and 50 percent more than their peers who just excel technically. Some of the reasons include the ability to develop good relationships with supervisors and co-workers, comfort in expressing a concise "pitch" for promotion, empathetic listening skills that effective communications possess, and tactful negotiation skills that are an extension of effective communication.
Empirical evidence supports it. Look at your current senior management – they are not dumb, but the majority are not the sharpest tacks in the organization. There must be something more to this promotion thing than merely technical skills. By the way, have you ever thought about why you are working for them if you are better technically than they are?
#2. Someone is always smarter than you.
It is hard for my well-educated colleagues to accept, but there is always someone smarter than you. That may come in several forms, ranging from natural intelligence to better training to youthful sharpness. However, the day is won by the better translator of the ideas.
#1. Decision makers need to know what time it is, not how to make a watch.
No one really cares about how hard you worked, how creative you were, or how much you struggled. Decision makers just need to know what time it is. Knowing the time is the part that helps them.
Learn the elements of the Communicating with FINESSE fishbone diagram. Those seven bones – frame, illustrate, noise reduction, empathy, structure, synergy, and ethics – are the causes that lead to the desired effect of effective communication. It starts with technical competence. However, the difference in your incremental value is determined by every successful communication.