An Engineering example: An engineer and a communication specialist walk into a meeting room.
Engineers are still human beings. Engineers just look at the world differently from non-engineers. Think of it from a different perspective, A baby sees pictures, while an adult sees words and numbers. Non- engineers are like babies, they see general picture of what they want but not understanding how to calculate numbers, articulate words and draw design plans that an engineer’s operate on. To communicate with engineers, you need to understand what goes on in an engineer’s mind.
In college, teachers train engineers how to think logically, pragmatically and more importantly direct and to the point. Meanwhile non-engineers might not think as direct and logical. Take myself for example a communications major, under Bachelor of Arts. You take an art major that has been program to think using our feelings because we are creating something beautiful and art-like. We think with our feelings while engineers think with their brains.
Unfortunately, when working together these different perspectives come together does cause friction, create sparks of creativity from both sides and communication challenges that can slow work down. However, despite all the drawbacks we all still need to collaborate together.
Collaborate effectively with an engineer means that both parties need to try to communicate on a level that both parties can understand. The role of an engineer is to try to dumb down things for non-engineers to understand. while non engineers need to enhance their knowledge to speak the language of an engineer.
I am not talking about mastering the language of an engineer but know enough to talk to them on a basic level. Think, how can 2 people from 2 different countries communicate together.
Here are some tips on how to talk effectively between teams.
Being Respectful and show compassion
Despite the difference in expertise in different fields always be respectful, show compassion and understanding. No one is perfect, there are always things that you don’t know. Being respectful is a way of building trust between you and the other person. If you have any questions about why it is that they want it to do this way ASK, it never hurts to ask. You will be surprised how often people are willing to answer your questions.
Listening is very important. If people started listening and try to understand what the other person is saying, conversations would move forward. Let’s say if both of you guys are talking at the same time and trying to express opinions and one up another. Conversation would not move forward but backwards. During these team meetings is to try to resolve each problem and communicate effectively. Listening is also a way of respecting the other person because you are giving them the opportunity to explain their side of the story. Teams are there to adjust each individual opinion to form a uniformity in opinions that is a combined and better. All perspectives are covered, forming a solid game plan.
Every meeting should have someone who is there to clarify everything for everyone else. This person is usually someone who understands both parties to a certain extent. Knows the possibility of each decision or an idea. Both parties should also try to speak other parties’ language, as much as possible so speed up the understanding process.
A meeting discussing with engineers could be talking about the possibility of creating a new product. One party could ask if this is new product can be made and designed within 1 week. An engineer would just straight up conclude that it is not possible to even build a prototype. To Understand an engineer and as the opposing party you are to know the process in how an engineer makes a product come to life. From gathering Build of materials, pricing, and time to manufacture and designing could all take time. As engineers you must understand that not everyone knows how or what you do to make a product thus you Tell the opposing party, while the opposing party listen, and voice different concerns and design possibility. Once both parties are done with their discussions there needs to be a person to Clarify everything for both party to make sure everyone knows their part and don’t overshoot expectations.
Last Edited: jan 13 2020
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