Recently, I’ve learnt the importance of communication. What a cliché.
Hands up if you haven’t got something along the lines of – “excellent communicator” on your C.V.
We all seem to think we’re good communicators because we all understand ourselves. But do other people understand us? Can you take complex technical issues and explain them to people? Trust me, the answer in your head right now is almost defiantly, not what the last person you explained something to would say.
Here’s an example. What is Spring? I don’t want to hear the words ‘dependency injection’ or ‘inversion of control’, yes they make me sound important but they don’t help non-techies understand them. There are some incredibly clever people out there, and the problem is, they know all the answers, but haven’t got a clue how to explain them to people. In my short experience I’ve found that half the reason people get to the position they are is because they are actually bad communicators, quite clearly clever, and quite clearly the only people who can do the things only they understand, as there is no chance of them ever explaining the concepts to the lay man.
In my opinion the most important factor in communicating to people is not the words you use, but making sure your audience understands you, otherwise say it with your mouth closed, it’s about as useful.
So my new resolution is to make sure people understand what I’m telling them, and when I’m doing anything, do it in the simplest way possible. I think that people are worried about making hard problems simple, no one wants to appear trivial. Nothing in the whole of the world cannot be described in a simple sentence. Just ask the oxford English dictionary.So, next time you explain something to someone, do something so simple it hurts. Ask them to explain it back, this is not demeaning, this is to check they understand.
Complexity stops things from working, use examples, explain, be expressive, simplify.
But for goodness sake don’t make things more complex than they have to be.