Understanding "geek speak"

Understanding “geek speak”
Understanding “geek speak”
  • Cody Hobbs
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Picture this scenario: you’re watching a presentation from a tech provider, and they start listing off the cool features they offer.  Suddenly, it sounds like they’re speaking a different language.  The widgets and modules they’re talking about sound cool — or at least they sound complicated.  And complicated is good, right?  When you’re spending big money, and making an investment that you hope to last for at least the next 2-5 years, you better make sure you understand exactly what it is they’re talking about.  But in the world of tech jargon, how exactly are you supposed to do that?

As someone who works as a technician, it’s easy to get caught up in tech-jargon. When communicating with clients it can sometimes sound like I’m speaking another language, and that can lead to them leaving more confused than when they first called.

For anyone who works within a specialized field, it can be easy to forget that others may not be as familiar with the lingo as you.  What might sound like a reasonable and straight forward answer is really a jargon laced string of incomprehensibility to the listener.  I think this is the biggest reason for miscommunication between tech vendors and their clients.

While this shouldn’t have to be the case, breaking this habit takes work, and a little bit of time.  I’ve written before on methods of communication, but to strip it down to its most general sense, I truly believe it should be the job of the vendor to learn to effectively communicate their world to the client.  That’s why we here at SSI have been so committed to slowing down and listening to our clients.  We want to know how to address you on your own terms.

If you don’t fully understand what’s going on with your website or online database, then you can’t really have the confidence that it’s being maintained correctly.  And trust is the corner stone of this industry.  We know that we have great products, and offer top-tier service; but that’s not enough.  We want our clients to feel assured that we are providing them with exactly what they want and what they need.

The bottom line is this: make sure you and your tech vendor are always on the same page.  If you don’t understand something, or feel like something you said was misinterpreted, ask.  Because remember, the most expensive question is the one never asked.