A thought about clear communication

Technical people, me the first, can often assume that people understand the technical jargon that we use in our day-to-day. It becomes difficult with team members to follow our train of thought if they are distracted by the technicalities. In a discussion with a fellow programmer, we have discussed the topic and I wanted to synthesized my recommendations.

Perhaps this is clear for a lot of people, but for others, they need to work on this.

Condensed Communication:

People have short attention spans and are often limited in time. This is particularly true when discussing with managers; they have so many meetings in a day, time is limited for them. Long emails appear to discourage people from reading it. They skim over and information is broken. 

It is always preferred to condense information in short and concise sentences. If there is an opportunity to say/write something in 1 sentence instead of 2, take it. It takes time to always review our emails and make sure the information is short & clear, but the effort is worth it.

Awareness of the Audience

It is also important to be aware of the audience you are speaking to. Speaking to a non-technical person is different from a technical person. We cannot go into deep programming terminology with everybody in the company. In other words, it is important to ask the question:

“Will the person understand the things I will say to them”

“Do I need to simplify the concept which I am conveying”.

For example, talking about algorithms to a graphics designer, they might nod and say “Yes. I see. Ok”, but in fact they haven’t fully grasped the information conveyed.

To make things a bit more tricky, this can also happen between technical people. Talking about Interrupts and QuadSPI to a mechanical engineer, there is a risk that they will be overwhelmed with technical terminologies. That can impede the discussion and can make them totally miss the point of the information conveyed. It is better to choose words that are more adapted to the target audience. I understand it might be less technically accurate, but in return, it ensures that that audience follows our train of thought.