The 5 Minute Tech Break : Communicating with Non-Techies

Happy Friday

I co-founded CTO Academy despite being, what you might call, a 'non-technologist'

As I write this, I can hear in the background my co-founder Jason making some derogatory remarks so, let me put my technology cards on the table ....

I'm definitely someone you can call a non-technologist.

I launched my first start up as a solo founder and struggled, to say the least, with the technical side.  I then suffered in those pre-upwork days, in the hands of expensive and underwhelming agencies.

I vowed then, never to launch again without a technical co-founder.

For tech leaders and managers like you, communicating with non-technologists is a skill you need to master and so ...

This weeks newsletter is focused on communication and more specifically, how you technical people can (and should) communicate, with us luddites.  

Hope you enjoy the read.

Andrew Weaver

When technical people, Speak to non-technical people

This weeks article on the CTO Academy blog, looked at the considerations you need to make, when presenting to non-technologist customers.

It's super important to prepare well, minimise jargon and focus on what that audience wants to hear.  Which often means you focus on output, not process.

You can read the article here


Think Fast, Talk Smart : Communication Techniques

This all comes down to communication skills, not always the strongest suite for techies but something you need to learn and hone, as you move up the corporate ladder.

This video lecture from Stanford, has received 15 million views and counting so, it must be talking some sense about the topic

In their words ....

"Communication is critical to success in business and life. Concerned about an upcoming interview? Anxious about being asked to give your thoughts during a meeting? Fearful about needing to provide critical feedback in the moment? You are not alone! Learn and practice"

KISS aka Keep It Simple Stupid

Many of us can over complicate things in our lives.

Products, menu choices, relationships and communication.

KISS is an acronym for "keep it simple stupid", originally a design principle noted by the US Navy in the 1960's.

The KISS principle states, that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore, simplicity should be a key goal in design, unnecessary complexity should be avoided.  

I have a similar view about communication, particularly for business and presentations.  

How many times has your heart sunk, as someone gets on stage and delivers a humourless 'Death by Powerpoint' presentation?

Air BnB are famous for many things including, a super simple investment deck during their initial fund raise. 

You can see a replica here on SlideShare.

Think about the KISS principle for all presentations, keeps it concise and much more interesting for the listener.

You certainly need to think about it when delivering a tech presentation to non-technologists.  

Here is a short LinkedIn post on the subject;
Keep It Simple Stupid : The Communication Guide for Leadership 

Book of the week : Crucial Conversations

Eagle eyed amongst you (and there is one) may have spotted a previous newsletter reference to this book [we promise, we're not on a commission].

But when I was sketching out this newsletter theme, it struck me again that it's an excellent read for providing what it describes as,  "tools for talking, when the stakes are high"

As one reviewer points out .. "The author aims not at writing about communications, but at helping you achieve goals in key interactions"


Quote of the Week

"The most important thing in communication, is to hear what isn’t being said" - Peter F. Drucker

That's it for another week.

London is wonderful in June, if a touch rainy today.

Hope the sun is shining on you, wherever you are in the world.

For those with an insatiable appetite for all things CTO Academy, visit our ever growing archive of '5 minute tech breaks'.

Until next time ... be kind, be grateful, be you.

Have a great weekend.