Buzzkill E9 – Communications Pitfalls and Information Technology

This episode explores important aspects of communication, including how communication between IT and the organization is vital both to implementations and ongoing operations.  

Though the stereotype of the cynical, introverted and sheltered IT admin may have some legitimacy, there are increasingly many kinds of people IT. Though this means there may be more sociality and better communication skills among IT members than in years past, it’s still very important to hone in on and improve IT communication skills on a regular basis. 

Think about the message you are giving.  

It’s important to understand that users generally know very little about what the solutions IT implements do, how they do it, and why they are being deployed-until we communicate these things to them. They need explanations for what a solution is doing-if something is going to happen, what are the implications of that action? How does it help them be productive and what does it mean for how they are working? 

When we use words like “platform” and “new methods of communication” we need to follow up with an explanation of what we are talking about so those that do not have an understanding of technology can be well prepared to get the most out of the tools they will be expected to use.  

Likewise any guides or training materials need to explain their topics well, and using a vernacular their business users can easily absorb. Think about the conference presentation you see- which ones go over well and which ones to you really absorb information from yourself? Up beat, relation content is best even when addressing technical topics. No matter what the implementation tyou rarely have to start from scratch with information- pull information from presentations… use information that explains things to end users in ways they can understand (but be careful not to plagiarize!).  

Do more with less 

Why go to all this effort? It’s vital to understand that the more your users get what’s happening and understand how to do things the right way to begin with, the less clean-up, IT tickets and compliance issue will come up later. By some estimations, good training can save you more than 10x a return on time in the future if you invest in it well now.  

In these explanations, remember- balance detail with the value they will get out of it.  

If you give too little detail, users will make assumptions, find workarounds, or even bypass your processes to do what they need to do- not always because they don’t care, but often times because they don’t understand or the processes is simply too complicated for them to work within.  

There is a balance though- as if you give too much detail or the information is simply to overwhelming for users, they will not be able to wrap their heads around it in such a way that actually helps them get things done. Remember always to communicate the value behind the implementation and the ways their lives will be easier if they do the right thing.  

Remember to always keep your eyes on the prize.  

As with so many things in IT and in life, none of this is super easy and it can take lots of time to do well. In the end, after years of experience and so many conversations with others in this IT community, you can be confident that the questions you will avoid with good training and communication will justify the energy you spend. 

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