For many tech people, talking to clients about their computers can be more than a challenge. It’s a communication nightmare. If you want to navigate the communication maze, this article will help you. Otherwise, go to another article and read about the wind or grass.
Glad to see you still reading. Okay, I don’t really see you. Let’s discuss a few items: learn the language of your client, discover your client’s level of knowledge or expertise on the subject, and obviously avoid jargon (when inappropriate).
You’ll want to learn the language of your client. What are words your clients use when talking about their computer and other technical equipment? Do they say “CPU” when talking about their computer? Are they giving specific instructions when telling you about their technical trouble? You’ll want to match the language they’re using. If it’s incorrect like “CPU” for a computer, just say “computer” because you know what a CPU is. Always be correct and truthful in your communication. Besides, maybe they’re testing you (or maybe not). Matching the language of a client is great because you won’t be speaking “Greek” (or geek speak). In contrast, although many clients will benefit when you speak in 5-year-old language, other clients can be insulted. Therefore, you want to speak in their own language.
How do you learn their language? Listen. Listen to the words they use. Listen to the way they describe their situation. Listening is widely known to be the most important part of communication. And this is communication.
Discovering your client’s level of knowledge is an important part of communicating with your clients. When your clients refer to a CPU as a computer, it’s likely they have little or no knowledge about computers. This information is helpful for your communication. If your clients are using acronyms and giving specific details about their situation, you can generally talk to them in technical terms. You’ll just need to listen to their language to determine their level of expertise or knowledge. In any case, use your judgment. After all, you’re likely reading this article because you’re a communication student like me!
Avoiding jargon tends to be common among communication ideas and techniques. That’s because it is important. Appropriate times to use jargon are when your clients understand it. Duh! You will only know when jargon is understood by noting the previous information I’ve given you. If you’re a computer repairman talking to a doctor, you may not want to talk about bus speeds, latency or bandwidth. Likewise, if you’re a computer programmer talking to a sales representative, you will likely avoid mentioning functions or the objects that are causing the errors.