5. Learn to speak a little of their language

Posted by on Apr 3, 2011 in 7 things you can do | 0 comments

5. Learn to speak a little of their language

Learn a few word of Geek. When you are speaking English with another person, you don’t often stop to consider that you might both be speaking a different language.  A word means what it means, right? Nope.  People with scientific or engineering training use some very common words in extremely different ways, and this can be the source of some very costly misunderstandings.

Here’s a small sample of words might hold vastly different meanings for the geeks:

Estimate – an approximation, a best guess given existing uncertainty.  Most often, estimates are for time, cost or labor.  They should never be confused with promises or commitments.  Estimates are uncertain by nature and should not be used for planning things that are hard to change.  Geeks hate giving estimates because they are almost always wrong, and are frequently misunderstood.  When asked for estimates, what geeks usually hear is that they are being offered an opportunity to be viewed as a liar or a fool.  They fear being punished for giving a good faith estimate since it will be treated as more than it is meant to be, just an educated guess.

Problem – a challenge or obstacle.  For most people, problems are bad things representing obstacles to a desired future.  But for technical people, they are enticing opportunities.  Most of their work is conceived as problem solving, an enticing challenge and a noble calling.  Without problems, there’s nothing to do and no need for their skills.  But since all the work that they do is focused on solving a problem, that problem needs to be very carefully defined.  If you give them the wrong problem to solve, they can expend a lot of energy on something that isn’t important.

Understanding the precise meaning of a dozen or so words in the geek vocabulary can take you a long way toward getting the technology you want.

For more information about how you can leverage geeks to get the technology you want, contact info@leadinggeeks.com or call 310-694-0450.

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