Generally speaking, even if you are the geekiest of geeks or the nerdiest of nerds, speaking in the patois of the geek is not recommended. I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen peoples’ eyes glaze over when I’m talking to them… and things are even worse when I’m speaking geek.
The only exception to this rule if you are communicating with techno-weenies of the highest order, like the guys and gals at a company like Geeks and Nerds, in which case none of the usual rules apply, but we digress…
So, you can only imagine my surprise and delight to discover that Dr Lucy Rogers (CEng, FREng, FIMechE) has decided to address this problem with gusto and abandon. It probably goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that she also addresses the problem with aplomb and panache.
On the off chance you haven’t heard of Dr Lucy, who is an author and inventor, we should start off by noting that she is a visiting professor of engineering, creativity, and communication at Brunel University London.
Dr Lucy is the author of It’s ONLY Rocket Science — An Introduction in Plain English, which describes in everyday terms, and without math, what is involved in launching something into space and exploring the universe beyond our small planet.
The reason I’m waffling here is that I know lots of folks who are technically brilliant, but who find it hard to communicate when meeting people or presenting at a conference, for example. If you happen to have The Knack, it’s not uncommon for the unwashed masses to take you for a babbling fool (I’m speaking for a friend).
The point of this blog — yes, of course there’s a point and we’ll get to it if you stop interrupting — is that, as described in this video, Dr Lucy is offering Online Communication Courses by a Person in Tech for People in Tech.
As Dr Lucy explains, when she started her career, she didn’t understand why social skills were important for an engineer. She could do the logic, she could do the math, and she could write the reports, but then she began to realize that other people didn’t understand her reports. She wasn’t communicating efficiently and — because of this — she wasn’t being offered opportunities for the exciting jobs and the exciting projects. Dr Lucy goes on to say that she’s spent the last 30 years improving her communication skills, which have opened many doors, and she’s now sharing these skills in her courses (she’s also offering a free 10-minute taster).
I agree that communication is an invaluable skill for an engineer. The fact that I have my own communication skills, as humble as they may be (I pride myself on my humility), has allowed me to tour the world with other people footing the bill and paying for all the expenses, which is really the only way to travel, in my opinion. How about you? Do you have any communication concerns or related tales you would care to share?