The other day I was talking to a client about cloud computing, and he was frustrated. He finally said, “Does ‘cloud’ stand for something in the technology, or does it stand for the lack of clarity around the concept?”
His response made me laugh, but it also reminded me about how important it is to be very clear about terms when you want people to understand you.
When I was on my high school debate team, and again later on when I studied mathematics, you always had to start by defining your terms. It was a given that you couldn’t have a discussion or prove anything unless you knew what you were talking about in the beginning.
Talking with corporate IT you have to do the same thing – especially with new technology and acronyms! When you’re talking about PAAS, SAAS, cloud, application virtualization , ITSM, or any other jargon, be kind and give the audience a clue about what exactly you’re talking about. Never assume they already know.
And when doing technology market research, don’t guess!!! Either tell the participants exactly what you mean, or ask questions about what the participants think it means. Put in the effort to make sure you understand each other.