How to Talk Tech Without Sounding Like a Techie

How to Talk Tech Without Sounding Like a Techie

Get Out of Your BubbleGet Out of Your Bubble

You live, eat and breathe IT all day. But your audience doesn’t. Drop the in-house lingo and esoteric references and use broad, accessible terms to say the same thing.

Lose the EgoLose the Ego

Don’t stick to your internal language in an arrogant attempt to impress outsiders with your superior industry knowledge. You won’t wow them. You’ll alienate them.

Never, Ever Serve Up Alphabet SoupNever, Ever Serve Up Alphabet Soup

Unless you intend to lull your audience into a coma, don’t load your talking points with an abundance of tech acronyms.

Learn About ThemLearn About Them

You’ll instantly make connections if it’s clear you know their goals, motivations and pain points. Researching and finding a trusted contact from the intended audience will help you here.

Make Cultural References That ResonateMake Cultural References That Resonate

You can break down many walls by dropping references to movies, TV shows, music and other popular cultural subjects that audience members likely enjoy.

Clarify But Don't Over SimplifyClarify But Don’t Over Simplify

When you lend clarity, you build a greater understanding of your topic and why it matters. But don’t insult people’s intelligence by dumbing it down.

Edit YourselfEdit Yourself

Stick to active sentences and action verbs and avoid passive voice or weak “to be” verbs. Use shorter, punchier sentences.

Fact Check Your InfoFact Check Your Info

You’ll lose credibility if you deliver content that’s discovered to be misleading or flat-out inaccurate. Review original source material closely to avoid this mistake.

Keep It CurrentKeep It Current

Similarly, your command of topic will be questioned if you quote from a 5-year-old industry survey to gain support for a brand tech initiative. Make sure everything is up-to-date.

Insert HumanityInsert Humanity

Sprinkle what you say with concrete stories about real people and problems, and how your initiative can help.

Streamline the NarrativeStreamline the Narrative

Remember that all tech stories should break down into this simple, organizational structure: Define the problem. Describe the solution. Summarize the impact.

Dennis McCafferty
Dennis McCafferty
Dennis McCafferty is a contributor to CIO Insight. He covers topics such as IT leadership, IT strategy, collaboration, and IT for businesses.

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