Practical Tips for Communicating Tech Jargon and Ideas to Business Leaders and Clients

Every business needs technology to work. We all know that, and business leaders understand that they need specialized experts to help them navigate modern technology.

That’s your job.

The problem is that you often need them to understand at least some elements of technology in order to surmise its value and try to use it effectively. Being a tech expert often means teaching things to your contacts.

Since you’re not a professional teacher, you might find that conversations sometimes stall, and they don’t really take away the lessons you intended to impart. Yet, if you can clean up how you use jargon and approach business intelligence discussions, you can overcome these challenges. 

For that, these seven tips can help.

Use Examples

Especially when you can use examples in the audience’s vertical industry, you can help them find ways to relate to the technology or jargon you are trying to explain. Even when you can’t find perfectly vertical examples, walking them through an application of a tech idea adds context that can help just about anyone understand, regardless of their background.

This approach shines when discussing BI services and the specific ways they can help a client.

Analogies and Metaphors

When you don’t have good examples, or if they seem stuck on an idea, that’s when you can pivot to analogies. Analogies always fall short to some extent, but they’re great for getting a specific aspect of a technical process or term across. They can help you highlight a specific business intelligence solution or goal.

More importantly, when you try to come up with your own analogies (probably better to do this when preparing for a presentation than in the moment), you force yourself to think about ideas in non-tech terms. You can look up common analogies on top of that, and you have an arsenal of tools to explain an idea.

Even better, if they offer a counter analogy, try to make it work, or explain the key issue that makes it not work.

Emphasize Impact Over Process

Regardless of the examples or analogies, the best way to make an impact with your business intelligence conversation is to emphasize the right things. A non-tech person is going to care about the bottom line more than specific elements of a process they don’t deeply understand.

When you focus on why the technology helps (and how it might help their business process) rather than how it works, you can get your point across and make an impression.

As an example, you can explain that a software change will improve productivity by 10 percent. When they ask how, you can spend less time explaining how it is optimized for their hardware in order to process large data batches faster. Instead, you can skip to the bottom line and say that it crunches numbers faster, so your teams aren’t waiting on results.

Stay Time Appropriate

It’s also important that you don’t make assumptions about your audience. You can’t assume they are familiar with any terms, or that gets confusing. But, you also can’t assume that they lack intelligence or experience with technology related to their business or can’t understand technical topics. That’s just as big a mistake.

The best way to temper your assumptions is to focus the conversation on a timetable. Is this a two-minute talk or a multi-hour discussion?

The timing can help you streamline the points that matter most.

Pick Jargon Intentionally

To an extent, jargon matters. In order to efficiently explain tech ideas to anyone, some jargon terms are going to arise. For instance, you can only talk about RAM for so long without introducing someone to the term. Talking around the jargon can waste time and get confusing.

Yet, if you throw too much jargon at someone too quickly, they get lost in the terms.

You can preemptively solve this problem. Think about the topic and the one to three terms that they really need to understand. Start business intelligence conversations by covering those terms, and then explain whatever idea needs covering while using those specific bits of jargon.

You will reinforce the terminology while keeping the conversation concise.

Keep Conversations Sober

In tech spaces, we often get carried away. It’s so easy to get excited about new tools and methods, and we often see how even small technological improvements can bear massive impacts.

Yet, most of the time, when a business implements a new tool or system, it won’t see overnight success. Even though their technology has incredible potential, real gains are usually more tempered.

Keep that in mind when you explain tech ideas. Stay sober and try to realistically include costs, time, and risks associated with any tech changes. Emphasize the low end of expectations at least as much as the high end.

Study the Vertical Business

The last and most important tip is to spend time raising your intelligence pertaining to the business of your target audience. They have their own jargon and common threads. The more of those you can learn, the more you can weave them into your explanations of technology. You can teach tech ideas on their terms, and you will see better results almost instantly.

As a tech person, you’re going to have these conversations plenty of times. The good news is that experience will help, and you will naturally improve over time. If you put sincere effort into your communication, that improvement comes a lot faster, and both you and your business contacts will benefit.