Technical Professionals Do Not Understand the Importance of Soft Skills
Technical professionals are not regarded as being good communicator. This perception is partially a myth, but there is little doubt that most of us need to improve our soft skills. The article and video explore why technical professionals are not good communicators and what we can do about it.
Some Technical Professionals Are Good Communicators
First, I want to say I don’t buy into the myth that technical professionals schooled in the hard skills are not naturally good in the soft skills. In fact, some of the most effective communicators that I know were trained in technical professions like engineering or science or medicine or other some other technology field.
Most of Us Need Some Help
But there’s little doubt that at least half of all technical professions need some work in those soft skills like communication and facilitation.
And here’s why. The first eight to 10 years of our career we spend determining how the hard skills we learned in school are going to be applied in the real world in practice. we spend the next 10 to 15 years working 40 to 50 hours a week, managing projects, managing tasks, managing small teams, doing research or whatever.
Then most of us wake up someday close to 45 or 50 years old and realize that the soft skills are really the things that make the difference. In addition to my own experience, every time I give a four- or eight-hour workshop on effective communication, I’ve had some at least one technical professional come up to me and say I wish someone had explained to me the things you’re talking about 20 or 25 years.
How Do We Improve?
So, what can we do about it? That’s the question. First, we have to commit to the structure and discipline of being good communicators. That means finding specific approaches for communicating in cases like big strategic decisions, emergencies, and normal operations,
Second, we need to train, train, train.
And finally, we need to learn to lean on our selected approaches. This means we need to have greater self- and situational awareness so that we let the training kick in when we get in those difficult situations.
The Big Takeaway
The big takeaway is that you need to be intentional about selecting specific communication approaches. FINESSE is one of those approaches. It may or it may not be for you. The main point is to pick some approach.