A Silver Bullet To A Satisfying Technology Career Print E-mail
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Saturday, December 22, 2012 8:33am

"Silver Bullet" status is high praise - I'm slow to give it.  However, when I am most tempted, the item has the quality of unveiling something that has formerly been invisible by virtue of it's universal acceptance.  There is something that may be invisible to you now that could have a dramatic effect on your career satisfaction and the rest of your life as well.  That something is...

...the fact that effective explanation skills are not built-in to human beings, yet massive portions of our communication are spent explaining.  

Think about it, since the very first few exciting steps you took into technology you carried the burden of explaining things to those around you.  Perhaps feeling like the person in the know was a significant motivation in your pursuit of a job or career in technology - maybe the technology is a medium to your enjoyment of "being in the know".

And today your need to explain is an all pervaisive part of your career and your life as a whole.  When you express ideas to help your colleagues, company or industry - you seek to explain.  When you seek to justify a project, motivate peers, get your 3 year old to eat their green peas - you reach for... an Explanation.

I'm not a linguist or anthropologist, so I can't give you accurate numbers on the percentage of your speech that contains or embodies explanation - but I know for me - it is a lot.

What if your many hours spent in explanation could be multiplied in their effectiveness?

Land the proposal, impart knowledge, move people forward and the biggest accomplishment of all - get your 3 year old to eat their peas!

Since the first step in my journey to help others leverage technology, I began dealing with the persistent frustration of not being understood.

My internal thoughts were like this:

  • Why can't people understand my point?
  • If I slam down everything I know, I bet they will get it!
  • Why can other people cause me to understand challenging concepts - seemingly effortlessly?

Over time I've banged my head against this challenge enough to make some reasonable headway. I figured out that if I took responsibility for understanding, it shifted my mindset in a very helpful way.  I found that people needed a progression of comprehensible steps that started with where they were with the topic.  I saw that analogies and visuals are extreme power when it comes to explanation.

Forgive my remix of Mark Twain's wisdom, but "The difference between the right explanation and the almost right explanation is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."

Twain's quote highlights how carelessly we can easily treat this critical skill.

For a long time I have desired to understand explanation without even knowing I was pursuing it.

Wouldn't it be great if someone could explain explanation to us in terms that we can all understand?

Well, it has finally been done.  

Odds are you are one of the many millions who have already watched one of those lively and entertaining little whiteboard videos where a cheerful voice accompanies hand-drawn paper cutouts moved around by a hand - if so you've already heard the voice of Lee LeFever.

His recently published book is titled "The Art of Explanation: Making your Ideas, Products, and Services Easier to Understand." and it lives up to his reputation of excellence in explanation!

If you apply the principles in his book, chances are you will receive a full return on investment in your next explanation at work or home.

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