What I learned from Even a Geek can Speak

Even a geek can speak is a book by Joey Asher. I borrowed this book from work, and share the tips below. Why do geeks need to know how to communicate well? Especially at conferences where engineers are expected to present the product they work on. Don’t leave it to the lone business person to explain the merits of the product.

“When you spend so much time building the drill, it is easy to forget about the hole.”

There is much value in knowing about the hole, and using it to communicate with stakeholders. good communication boosts your perceived value at the workplace, and adds enjoyment to work.

How to talk to business people Business people want to know the state of the technology, the general idea behind how a certain technology solves the problem. They also want to know the future of the problem. Where is the problem heading?

To cut through the complexity of ideas, ask yourself: what is in it for the listener?

what to say if run into:

  • boss? he does not care about the detail, speaks with the CEO of bigger clients. What impacts the major client?

  • business partner. What do you think of the change in __?

  • client who is a CFO at a major corporation. How would tech affect his/her company?

  • neighbor: former business owner. How to be helpful to him?

  • subordinate: how much work is it for him/her?

  • significant other: how does the technology affect the security of your/his/her job, can you make more money?

every message has a MO MO stands for message objective. What is in it for the listener, if they do what the presenter proposed/argued for.

narrative forms for presentation Wrap the MO

  • past, present, future
  • advantange, disadvantage
  • situation, crisis, solution

how to generate analogies grab 2 or 3 people, this takes around 20 minutes

  1. what is the name of the product? ie. time management software
  2. what are 5 common items or service?
  3. how is your product like each of the listed item? ie. steak knives, because allow to cut through the gristle of the day

transitions we’ve talked about what tax law says today. Now let’s move on to point two: what will happen if the law is not changed?

improvement plan begin by telling the listener the big picture: what’s in it for them? sound enthusiastic. smile and make eye contact. tip from Benjamin Franklin: pick one thing to work on, for 21 days

Elevator pitch goal is to pique listener interest, and get conversation going. what is your goal? Do you understand listener interest?

to investor: will they get richer?

to prospect: want solution to problems

I am a problem solver, and a dream facilitator. Given the listener something, so they’ll ask for more detail on what you do. deliver with:

  • energy, eye contact, and smile

have engineers pair up, and practice giving pitch to each other.