It’s often impossible to fix a misunderstanding where technology is concerned. If you haven’t identified and communicated your needs clearly at the beginning of a technology project, there may be little or no room for changes later on. Software systems have so many dependencies that a seemingly minor change can ripple outward and cause dozens of unforeseen, undesired consequences. Therefore, a change that might have been easy to implement early on is virtually impossible during the later stages.
Why Does Communication Matter Where Technology Is Concerned?
- As with anything, misunderstandings in the technical realm lead to wasted time and effort. Anyone who’s worked on a help-desk can tell you about a time when he or she spent hours researching and troubleshooting something for a client, only to realize later that they were solving the wrong problem. Of course, this is a loss for the end user as well, who has to wait that much longer for an answer.
- Of course, poor communication often erodes good will and poisons office relationships.
You should ask yourself several questions whenever you have a major conversation about technology, whether you’re talking to an individual or a group:
- Who is my audience? Are you talking to a techie or a non-techie? How should you alter your language and mindset when you’re dealing with these two different audiences? We cover this topic in Talking with Techies and Talking with Non-Techies.
- Where do they stand? How does the person you’re talking to fit into the library universe? What attitude adjustments should you make based on your audience’s relationship to the library? This topic is covered in Discussing Technology with Library Shareholders.
- How are your basic communication skills holding up? If you feel like you need a refresher on some of the basics of interacting with your fellow humans, there are hundreds of short, common-sense articles such as, Do You Make These 10 Mistakes in a Conversation and How to Have a Great Conversation.