Ask Penny: How do I talk to a “tech person” without feeling like a dodo?

Posted By on May 26, 2014 in CraftHack, Creative Business


Here at the Patterned blog we’re pleased to announce a new series! “Ask Penny” is the place to come with all of your tech-related questions. Want to know how to tweak your web site without hiring professional help, or when is the right time to get that type of help? Bring your questions right here to the comments! Once a month Penny will be back to answer a few more.

Ask Penny

Penny Shima Glanz is a computer scientist with a passion for information management and how we interact with technology. She started PennyWise Consulting, LLC to help solo and small businesses figure out how to make the most of their technology needs and budgets. When not wrangling technology she can be found knitting, snuggling with her cats and reading, or out on a muddy trail run at sunrise.          

Today’s question: How do I talk to a tech person without feeling like a dodo? Maybe you’ve been afraid to even ask your questions because you’re not sure what the lingo is, or how to phrase it without sounding stupid. Never fear, Penny’s here with an answer for you!

From Penny: First, please remember, tech people are human too! A good tech person will work to communicate with you. Sometimes they might forget and use a word that you aren’t familiar with, but call them on it. Ask them to clarify.

While I’d love for everyone to be comfortable with technology, I know it takes a while. Believe it or not, there was a time when this was all new to me too. I’ve worked in technology for over 15 years, chances are I would feel tongue tied when talking to you about your business.

I work with my clients to find a set of building blocks we can use to explain tech to each other; finding this common ground doesn’t happen overnight. However, despite trying hard, sometimes the first few attempts are frustrating and tempers can fray on both sides. It’s a process. Some days may be better than others and one day everything may click and the next we’ll struggle.

Here are a three things to keep in mind to help with communication:
1. Precisely explain the problem.
2. Step through why it’s a problem for you.
3. Draw a picture! A picture is worth a thousand words, even a simple stick-figure drawing!

 

We hope you’ve found this helpful hint … well, helpful! If you have a tech question for Penny, ask it in the comments below, and then stay tuned for her answer!

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