Science, technology and engineering are important fields. All of society benefits from the work done in these fields. These professionals are some of the brightest and most valuable contributors to the workforce. There is one thing however that far too many science, technology and engineering students believe. This thing is a direct contributor towards extended unemployment and professional stagnation. This thing is a lie. This lie is never actually told, but it’s believed by too many.
If you are able to see through this lie then the benefits to you are simple:
- You will have increased job searching success quite quickly.
In our experience, we see too many science, technology and engineering students who believe this lie.
So what is the lie? Your technical skills are more important than your communication skills.
You need to make sure you’re aware of the truth if you want to enter one of the following fields:
- Information Technology (IT)
- User Experience (UX)
- User Interface (UI) & Graphic Design
- Engineering, all disciplines
- Business Analytics (BA)
- Business Intelligence (BI)
- Anything technical
Make it simple
What’s make it simple? That’s just it, make sure that any non expert you are dealing with can understand you easily. You’re in a profession where you have acquired a wide range of expert knowledge. You know about how the science, technology and engineering of something works. Also, you know about this to a level more than most people. You are the expert, they are the novice, or even the ignorant. Who is this ignorant person who knows little about your field?
This person might be your employer, customer or other important stakeholder. It might surprise you to learn that your employer knows less about your field than you. If they are a manager of a team of technical experts for instance. You might notice that they may or may not have the same background as you. They might be much less technical.
Avoid rookie mistakes with your first(and any) customer
Imagine you work in IT or a web related field and you have a customer. They own a retail store and need an e-commerce website set up to support their need to service customers online. Why are they really doing this? They want to make it easy for their customers. Maybe you’ve shown them an impressive portfolio of work where you’ve created some really nice looking e-commerce websites. They chose to hire you because they want you to make that process easy for them.
The most important thing is that they’ve chosen to hire you because you are the expert and they are not. They hired you to make everything easier for them because without you, they thought it would be harder. This is really important and is worth emphasising. You need to make things as easy as possible for them. Do this on the first deliverable and all the way as you work toward the final deliverable.
If you understand about things like payment gateway APIs and optimising the website code to execute more efficiently. It’s good you understand all that technical stuff, great. Most people don’t understand or care about it. Don’t assume that they are as interested in these details as much as you are. Chances are, if the website is secure and fast for customers, they will be happy. Ask them this to be sure.
We often see inexperienced consultants launch into all sorts of complex detail that confuses customers. If you are facing a customer in any capacity, you need to know how to consult. For the purposes of this issue, we’ll call you a consultant.
What does this mean for you?
If you’re at the start of your career in any of the above areas, you have an opportunity. Many of your peers lack a proper understanding of the importance of clear and simple communication. As soon as you grasp the importance of this and go simple, you are ahead of the crowd. The job market can be harsh. Any communication skills advantage you have will improve your chances of getting a job over your competition.
Before co-founding Hoodic, I had a career in IT. My first job was to fix the computers and servers at schools. My job was to make the computers work, the teachers’ job was to teach the kids. I was fortunate to realise something very powerful quite early on in my career. I worked hard to communicate in a clear, simple and respectful way. People got so much more value from my technical skills due to those simple things. It didn’t take long for me to stand out just because I was easy to deal with. Easy in the teachers’ mind was quite straightforward. They could bring a technology problem to me, and I would make the problem go away. This was a huge realisation that has been important for my whole career.
- If you can find what your customers’ pain looks like, then make the pain go away. You win.
The easiest way to find out what the pain looks like is to focus on clear and simple communication. Speaking clearly and simply about something you are passionate and knowledgeable about is hard. It’s also something worth practising every day because it will help you in all aspects of life.
What can you do right now?
Only a non-expert can properly judge if words spoken by an expert are clear and simple.
Here are three things you can practice which will help you communicate more clearly and simply:
Try to explain a complex concept using no jargon at all. Make sure that you only use simple words from a school student’s dictionary.
- Find someone who knows nothing about a particular area at all. Try to explain to them an important issue in a simple way. Look carefully at their facial expressions as they try to understand you. They should not be working hard to understand. If they are, your explanation is not simple enough.
- Ask the person to relay back to you what they understood. Ask them why this thing is important. If their explanation is wrong or they look confused as they relay it back, your explanation was not simple enough.
- Repeat as required
If you’re wondering how these skills can help you get a job, the reason is simple. People will hire you if they believe you’ll be easy to communicate with. The more quickly you’re able to show that, the better.
If you’re not quite sure what all this means to you specifically, it’s quite normal. We’re here to help you take an objective look at your situation and help you get unstuck.
If you’d like some extra no obligation help, you can book yourself in a FREE consultation call with us.