If you’re not technical, don’t despair – you have a different role to play.
If I had to place myself in one of the two categories, I would definitely fall in the Non-Technical realm.
Let’s look at a scenario that might explain the issue between the two types of people:
I’m watching a baseball game and I’m asked a question by a less than casual “fan”. I begin to rattle off a bunch of terms and baseball jargon like it should make sense to anyone and everyone. As it turns out, all they wanted to know was who the next batter is going to be, and here I am explaining what a double switch is, why that person is the next batter, why you build a lineup the way you do, etc. The fact is, it just confuses that inexperienced person more than they were in the first place and they rarely leave with the information they were looking for.
There is a possibility that many hurdles may be encountered when these two different types of people meet for a conversation or are working together towards a common goal. The example I gave above is a communication issue and it sounded like the “Technical people” are the ones to blame. But that’s not always the case…
Communication is Key!
We “Non-Technical” people aren’t always doing our part to bridge the communication gap either. We’re supposed to be the “wordsmiths” so let’s walk the walk!
We all want to be able to speak the same language. Sometimes it just takes a little more work than your average cocktail party conversation. As a Non-Tech person, if I don’t understand something, it’s my responsibility to ask questions… LOTS of questions! If I have to, I’ll tell them to explain it to me like I’m five years old and you’re teaching me to tie my shoes. It sounds funny but seriously! A person that is so experienced in the topic at hand may not even realize they’re breezing over some pretty big items that the inexperienced person completely missed. Then we Non-techies feel like we’re missing big pieces to the puzzle.
A good way to bridge this gap is to paint a picture for the technical person of how you see it. Then they get a better idea where you are with your base of knowledge on the topic – whether it’s the Cartoon Network version or the CNN version.
In my particular role, I am acting as the Customer Advocate of a Customer Care team. I have to communicate clearly with our clients as well as our technologically advanced engineers and infrastructure experts. It’s important for my non-technical self to be as concise as possible when explaining a situation on both ends.
Explain What You Need Clearly
From a service standpoint, we also need to do a better job of telling the technical people what we need or what the customer needs. The tech folks may not know a particular issue is more sensitive than another. We’re responsible for communicating importance and what exactly we think the issue is before just expecting this person to handle it and read our minds regarding whatever issue or request you’ve found yourselves dealing with.
The non-technical person should also reach out to the technical side for updates and input. These geniuses are working diligently on resolving an issue that we tech-less yahoos would be clueless how to even begin rectifying for the most part. We need to be information gatherers in this situation. That is our role.
Tech savvy and tech handicapped people can work together in perfect harmony to resolve any issues they encounter. Hopefully what we’ve all learned from this, like most problems, is that communication is the key! Build off each other’s strengths!
Non-technical people: Make sure you are conveying your thoughts as detailed as possible to the technical folks. That way they can better understand the issue, the urgency of it and what in particular you think is wrong.
Technical people: Remember you are dealing with “dummies” that aren’t used to your world. Be sure when we ask questions to try and teach us what is going on, don’t just say “it’s fixed” or use so many words that our brains melt.
We can do this! Let’s speak the same language.