Business communication skills free eBook

communication-skills-freelanersIf freelancing is always and forever about people (and it is) then good communication is imperative. Learn how to get better at it. You can build the greatest websites ever, you can write code that angels envy, but if you can’t communicate with others, you’ll never succeed.

One of our business mentors is fond of saying:

“Communication is not the message sent, but the message received.”

So you must work continuously, tirelessly on learning how to communicate with the non-geek, non-coders of the world. Communication with non-techies is truly hard for both sides. It’s not that anyone is stupid, it’s just that there’s an incredible divide to overcome. You speak different languages. And it takes work.

So here are some tips on communicating with the non-geeks of the work world that will benefit your career greatly:

  • Be forever patient. Like the long-suffering kind of patient. Stay calm and keep calm, even when you’ve hit a dead end. Always keep your composure. Never talk down to someone. And remind yourself that we don’t talk the same language and this is a communication barrier.
  • Translate. After you mention your technical jargon, then say, “This means …” But the best translations are typically metaphors or analogies. It offers a comparison in terms others can understand.
  • See the issue from the other person’s point of view, restate what you’ve heard and ask if your understanding is clear.
  • Repeat the why until eyes glaze over.
  • Explain how what you’re doing or what you ran into affects the project in terms of time, complexity and budget.
  • If development is an expedition, share the hurdles, challenges, dangers of the journey you may run into. Then give options. Don’t just give one path of the journey, present different options even if they are all marginal options. And once you’ve presented the different options, give some input as to what you’d suggest or prefer and most importantly, why.
  • Seek help and assistance from a translator. Find one of those weird blends of people who can walk and talk in both worlds. They are your ally. Stick close to them. Talk to them often. See how they might translate what you’re saying to others.
  • Know yourself, know your strengths, know your personality. Understand how you communicate and how it may be different from how other people communicate.

In addition to rocking good communication skills that can connect with people, you also need to master the technical skills. Freelancing can often mean working by yourself or remotely, and that can introduce a whole new set of communication problems.

Here are some tips to help you master the ins and outs of freelance

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