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Do You Translate Well from Geek to English?

Getting others to buy into your ideas means understanding them and their point of view

My son took a bite of his hamburger and immediately exclaimed "it's too spicy!" I knew there was no spice in the burgers (okay there was some black pepper) as I had made them from scratch. I ate some myself and said, "See, not spicy". He took a long hard look at me and then he said "YOU don't think it's spicy, because YOU are not a kid!" Yes I am not a weirdly picky kid who loves seaweed but won't touch his hamburger. I am just the exasperated parent trying hard to figure out the most efficient strategy to getting from a defiant to a compliant five year old. I do realize that to get there I'll have to exchange him for another kid.

As a technologist I suffer from the fallacy that others (adults and five year olds) will see things from my point of view and easily get on board to follow my lead. I might get really excited about something but my audience will not get on board if I am not able to relate it to their point of view.

Next time you are sitting in a meeting stop and think for a minute. Does what you are saying make sense to everyone else in the room? Who are they and what do they do all day long? How can you get them on the same page as you?

If you understand them then you may just be able to get them to understand you.

In case you were wondering I got to where I wanted to be by using some ketchup, my son ate not just one but two hamburgers for dinner that night.

More Stories By Salma Saad

Salma started her career back in 1993, working on Steve Jobs NeXT platform and moved on to Java when it was at the ‘bleeding edge’. She has worked as a consultant for more than ten years, working primarily on website development projects for a large variety of clients. In addition to her fascination with everything technical she also has a strong interest in developing her leadership and management expertise. She enjoys living in Chicago and being the mother of two rugrats, ...um boys and is currently working for Arc Worldwide/Leo Burnett helping fortune 500 clients build awe-inspiring websites.

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