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Think Like the Board of Directors: How IT Networking Professionals Can Communicate More Effectively with Executives

Effective communication is vital to the success of every organization. Whether it be a commercial business, a sports team, or government department, every organization relies on the efficient dissemination of information. Excellent communication ensures that the members of the team align with the organization’s purpose. They are also vital in ensuring the business, club, or department achieves its stated objectives. In today’s digitally-driven world, technology plays a pivotal role in the operational fabric of every enterprise. It can also create a communications barrier.

In the last two decades, the Internet has transformed the way we work and interact with each other. Even so, in the workplace, we still find technical jargon creating a communication rift between the technological elite and the not so tech-savvy. Breaking down this barrier is vital to building better teams and nurturing the seamless, efficient diffusion of ideas and objectives.

If you are a networking professional, you need to find a way to cut through the technical complexity of your trade and translate your ideas into business outcomes. Honing your communication skills in this way is vital to providing the enterprise with the guidance and information it needs to make informed decisions.

1 – Use Less Jargon

It may seem obvious, but the first thing you need to do when communicating with your company’s executives is to use less jargon. Terms like DNS, routing, and protocol are part and parcel of your professional vocabulary, but they sound like a foreign language to someone who does not have a technical background. Where possible, try and use simple language to get your point across. After all, it was Einstein himself that said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

2 – Connect at the Human Level

Effective communication is about building bonds with other team members. Understanding what drives every individual allows you to tailor your communication to their particular needs. For example, executives are typically driven by information that can assist in improving productivity and efficiency. Tailoring your message so that it resonates with these personal incentives will ensure you get your point across as it talks to the drivers that motivate their behavior.

3 – Keep Your Tone in Check

Every team or department within an organization has its own internal culture. Understanding the executive culture is vital to excellent communication with business leadership. For example, words, phrases, and even tones of voice that are acceptable in a server room may not be appropriate for the boardroom.

4 – Ask Questions

They say that listening is the key ingredient to effective communication. However, as you start interacting with executives, you also need to learn how to elaborate and inquire. As seamless communication rests on the premise that you understand the other party’s position entirely, you need to ask questions and engage in fruitful discussion. Most of the decisions made at this level of the organization are strategic and have far-reaching consequences. Ensuring success requires all parties have a clear understanding of the message and its purpose.

5 – Know Your Audience

Every great communicator understands that every audience is different and that it is vital to tailor your message so that it resonates with their ideals. While technical complexity and cutting-edge tech may get your networking peers excited, it is business efficiency, profitability, and strategic imperatives that your executives want. When conversing with them ensure you speak their language and that any proposals you present address their imperatives.

Keep the Purpose of Communication in Mind

Although we communicate with a variety of audiences every day, it is vital that we always keep the purpose of that communication in mind. After all, the goal of any message is that it is received and understood by all parties. Complexity and technical jargon reign supreme in the networking world. However, if you simplify your language and connect with your executives at the human level, you can go a long way in bridging the communication divide. Remembering to keep your tone in check, asking questions until all parties understand the information, and truly knowing your audience ensures your message will make the correct impression every time.

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