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I communicate goodly Wed, May 20, 2009
I was in a meeting recently where three engineers had to explain something to a lawyer.  The lawyer actually had an engineering degree as well, so that helped a little.  But the one engineer had been working in his field for 30 years, so his language matched the language he read in textbooks and research papers.  The second engineer is a ridiculously horrible communicator.  When he talks, words sort of stumble out of his mouth like they're jumping off a cliff into darkness.  My eyes bug out of my head when I hear this guy talk.  The third engineer was me, a self-proclaimed socially awkward people-avoider. 

So it was unusual and unexpected when I became the de facto translator for Team Engineer.  One guy was saying words like "gyroscopic" and "roll damping" while the other guy was saying things like "what's that equation?" and "yadda yadda testing blah blah schedule".  The lawyer looked around at us trying to make heads or tails of what the geeks were saying, so I quietly and simply piped in with a one sentence explanation that included words like "basically" and "like a football" while also avoiding any acronyms or unnecessarily complicated lingo.  It wasn't that I was dumbing it down, it was more like I was translating from geek language to human language.  After I finished speaking, the engineers both chimed in "exactly!" and the lawyer wrote feverishly in his yellow notebook. #psychology


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