Communications Skills in IT: Key to Success!

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Diatom Enterprises strongly believes it is not enough to be an excellent Developer, it is crucial to be a great Communicator

On the 3rd of March, the Global New Business Director Mike Kilgore who represents Diatom Enterprises, IT software company in Latvia, was presenting a Lecture on Verbal Judo and Profound Influencing Skills to the members of the Special IT Interest Group of the Latvian National Project Management Association at Riga Technical University main building.

Our experience shows that one of keys to be a successful IT company is excellent communication in IT, and sometimes, perhaps, even ‘over-communication’ in IT. Diatom Enterprises strongly believes it is not enough to be an excellent Developer, it is crucial to be a great Communicator, it’s important to listen and pay attention to every Client’s word, ask as many questions as possible and show the genuine interest in the Client. That is why, Mike Kilgore, who has gained unquestionable recognition on his outstanding coaching and presentation skills, is now teaching Communications Skills. These classes go under the framework of Project Management Training program that our company implements on a weekly basis.

This time Mike’s mastery was presented to the members of the Special IT Interest Group of the Latvian National Project Management Association (LNPMA).

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The presentation was divided into several parts, including theoretical part and workshops

LNPMA is the only Latvian professional Project Management Association that has a worldwide certification. LNPMA has formed a special IT Interest Group (IT SIG) that is aimed particularly to the Project Managers in the IT area. Mike Kilgore’s Presentation was given in the framework of the IT SIG activity.

Presentation gathered about 20 representatives of such companies as Atea Global Services, The Exigen Services, Datakom, DPD Latvia,  RIMI Baltic, etc. The aim of the meeting was to give the participants an introduction to the Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) as well as teach several Communications Skills that could be used successfully in IT area.

The presentation was divided into several parts, including theoretical part and workshops. Some statements caused a lot of discussions among the participants. Some participants could not believe that those skills would be applicable to the real day-to-day life, moreover, it was hard to believe how this could affect business deals in IT area. However, using colorful examples, as well as turning to the participant’s personal experience, demonstrated that Verbal judo is more that applicable to the real life.

One of these examples is: ‘What should I answer when I’m told that I’m ALWAYS late?”. Mike specifies: “WERE you actually late that time?”  “Yes, I was.” “Are you ALWAYS late?” “Not really, only a couple of times”. Mike emphasized that it’s common to start finding excuses and saying something like “No, I was only 5 min late.”, “I was late because… ”, “Look at yourself and judge your own actions”, etc. When instead of that you agree with the acceptable truth and even turn this all into a positive experience by asking a piece of advice from a person that attacks you: “Yes, you are right, I’m SOMETIMES late. But you demonstrate excellent time management. What do you think could help me to manage my time better?”  By doing that you have a chance to turn the possible argument into a polite conversation and surprise the attacker.

Another good example: if there is a difficult talk with anyone you could use “Talk about the talk” skill. It consists of three stages: first, you get the attention of a listener and “talk about the talk” or set the stage, i.e. prepare listener to the talk; then – actually deliver a message and give out the information – “talk the talk”; and, finally, “talk about the talk” again which means describing the importance of the message, making sure that everything is understood. This skill could be applied in a situation when a difficult conversation with a Client is coming and you just don’t know what to talk about. “Talk about the Talk” skill allows to gain the attention of the listener, prepare him for receiving the information, deliver it and close it without any hesitations.

Even about 20-minute-long Question and Answer Session was not long enough to satisfy the curiousness of the participants

Even about 20-minute-long Question and Answer Session was not long enough to satisfy the curiousness of the participants

There was the feeling that if there wasn’t limitation in time, Mike Kilgore’s Presentation could last forever. Even about 20-minute-long Question and Answer Session was not long enough to satisfy the curiousness of the participants. The time frame was set strictly: only two hours for the whole Presentation. Therefore, it was agreed that participants would ask additional questions via e-mail. Looked like Diatom Enterprises’ experience in paying attention to the communication in IT area has left an immense effect on the audience making them to ponder on their own communication style.

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“He has a natural infections charisma that quickly captured each member of his audience. He frequently told supportive real life stories with interwoven and genuine humor. Most of his humor was self-deprecating, the most gracious sense of humor.”

Agate Reuta-Odina, Association office manager Latvian National Project Management

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