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Speaking Client: Explaining Tech Stuff to Non-Tech People

Jim True
April 21, 2017

Speaking Client: Explaining Tech Stuff to Non-Tech People

This talk will cover the necessary skills to communicate complicated subjects to non-technical people. We'll discuss the Communication Toolkit, the stages of the Project Lifecycle and Scope Creep.

Jim True

April 21, 2017
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  1. Speaking Client:

    Explaining Technical Stuff to

    Non-Technical People
    Introduction to Communication Skills,

    the Project Lifecycle & Scope Creep

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  2. Jim True
    Support Lead & Community Manager

    Pods Framework
    http://pods.io | @podsframework
    http://jimtrue.com | @jimtrue

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  3. We start our story in Space, with some aliens
    zipping around the galaxy…

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  4. Suddenly, they have an issue with their

    organic hydroponic hyperdrive engine…

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  5. Luckily, they’re in the vicinity of the Milky Way
    Galaxy…

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  6. They decide to
    drop in on the
    Earth to see if
    they can find any
    intelligent species
    to help

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  7. They decide to
    start their search
    in the North
    American province,
    the Nation’s
    Capitol,
    Washington DC

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  8. NO INTELLIGENT

    LIFEFORMS!
    Obviously, no luck there.

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  9. SUCCESS!

    INTELLIGENCE!!
    Checking social media, they read about this
    amazing Tech School in St Petersburg,
    The Iron Yard

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  10. They drop in and meet the locals

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  11. They drop in and meet the locals

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  12. Greetings Earthling!
    Our Organic
    Hydroponic Hyperdrive
    Engine is damaged.
    Can you help us fix it?

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  13. Be Happy To, but I’m
    teaching a class on Talking
    Tech Stuff to Non-Tech
    People. Think you can
    assist me?

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  14. YES! We’d love to! 

    Growing a new engine will
    take a month minimum.

    Let’s start by cleaning up
    this “screen clutter”

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  15. The COMMUNICATION

    Toolkit
    • Context
    • Empathy / Perspective
    • Common Ground
    • Comparisons & Analogies
    • Clarify by Asking Questions

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  16. Context Matters!
    Does this mean what I think it means?
    And it can mean different things
    depending on the ‘context’ in which I’m
    using them.

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  17. Perspective & Empathy
    You can’t know how hard something is
    until you walk a mile in someone else’s
    shoes.
    You also can’t explain something if you
    don’t try to see it from their perspective.

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  18. Common Ground
    Speak at the SAME Level
    Don’t speak down to someone (insults
    their intelligence or ability to understand)
    & Don’t Speak over their heads. Avoid
    Jargon, Acronyms and words that have
    multiple meanings (context!)

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  19. Make Comparisons with Analogy
    It’s much easier to explain something if
    you can give someone a more common
    frame of reference that ‘works’ the
    same way. Find analogies with your
    audience/client and use them!

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  20. Clarify by Asking Questions
    Ask the person, often, if they’re
    following what you’re explaining or
    providing what you expect.
    Have them explain the problem back to
    you, so you can clarify they understood
    what you communicated.

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  21. The PROJECT Lifecycle
    Everything that takes time to complete is
    a Project. Anything you want to manage,
    has these same steps:

    ‣ Discovery
    ‣ Design
    ‣ Develop
    ‣ Delivery
    ‣ Deploy

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  22. DISCOVERY
    “Is what you say you want what you
    really want and do you know what I
    mean when I say what I want?”
    DEFINE what the project is expected to
    accomplish. Build Requirements, create
    the DEFINITION of the project.

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  23. DESIGN
    Make a mockup, a drawing, a demo, or
    something that doesn’t take too much
    effort to give a visual/sensory/tangible
    representation of what the client wants.
    Can be called the REFINE stage, because
    changes help clarify the DEFINITION.

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  24. DEVELOP
    Put all the time and effort in Discovery
    and Design to actually CREATE what the
    project requires.
    Also known as the BUILD phase, because
    at this point, you can’t go back without
    destroying.

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  25. DELIVERY
    Provide the finished project to the client in a
    way that they can ‘test’ and ‘kick the tires’.
    Project can be tested, investigated for
    “little” changes/fixes/bugs.
    Client will make a list of changes from
    actually using the product. This is the
    PUNCH LIST.

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  26. DEPLOY
    “Putting the baby out into the world and
    seeing if it floats.”
    This is also, usually, when ownership
    changes hands of the project to the
    requestor.

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  27. MILESTONES
    DISCOVERY DESIGN DEVELOP DELIVER
    $ $ $ $
    Important Steps/Stages in

    Project Lifecycle
    Milestone Dates
    Payments Due

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  28. SCOPE CREEP
    DISCOVERY DESIGN DEVELOP DELIVER
    Changes Occurring DURING the

    Project Lifecycle
    Scope Danger

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  29. SCOPE CREEP
    DESIGN DEVELOP DELIVER
    Changes in Scope made After Discovery,
    mean the project may have to jump back
    to the prior milestone or Start Over from
    scratch.

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  30. SCOPE CREEP
    DESIGN DEVELOP DELIVER
    Costs MUCH more MONEY to make
    changes the closer to the end of the
    project as well.
    $ $
    $
    $ $
    $
    $ $
    $
    $ $
    $
    $

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  31. DISCOVERY is CRITICAL
    This is why you spend the necessary
    time in the Discovery Phase. It will
    always cost more resources & time to
    change a project after it leaves
    Discovery.

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  32. Speaking of Discovery
    The book "Start With The Why" outlines
    how you achieve more by focusing on the
    underlying reasons why people do what
    they do. In WordPress development
    discovery, using the principles outlined in
    the book, we can turn a small request into a
    much larger one by figuring out the
    business problems associated with the
    request, and proposing a larger solution
    which resolves the underlying problems.
    “Start with the Why, Leave with a Bigger Check”
    Thursday, June 1, @ 6:30pm

    Iron Yard, St Pete

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  33. Jim True
    Support Lead & Community Manager

    Pods Framework
    http://pods.io | @podsframework
    http://jimtrue.com | @jimtrue

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  34. Tampa Bay WordPress
    Meetups Monthly in St Pete @ Iron Yard

    1st Thursdays every Month
    http://tampabaywp.org | @tampabaywp
    Slack Chat | Facebook Group | Meetup

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