It is probably one of the most difficult situations that a manager gets into – a technical call or meeting. On the one hand, you have to maintain a certain level – after all, you represent a technical company – on the other hand, everyone understands that you are not an expert.
Have you also ever felt that dealing with a technical counterpart was yours alone? For example, have you had to present technology to someone who understands a lot more about what you’re talking about than you do?
It’s not pleasant, but it’s part of the job. But how to do it and what can you encounter?
As you can see from the title, these are not empty words or a stereotypical tip – no one would have clearly thought of it. When I have an interview with our technical director, I have to have a notebook, paper, sticky notes, just anything where I can record his answers. I have no paper, I have no thoughts.
In this regard, it would be great to use the Pareto rule in the style of “80% of the things the technical director tells me, 20% I forget”. But it is exactly the opposite. So 20% in your head – if you’re lucky – and there’s paper for everything else.
If you’re like me, you might have notes that look more like a navigation chart. Labels, arrows, notes, it’s simply an art of a modern man. Try to control yourself in this and make the notes clearer, otherwise Pareto will show up here too and 80% of the notes will be useless. And you really don’t want that.
An alternative to our first point is this point. Even if you will not show the presentation to your counterpart, you can use it as a basis for the interview, especially if it will take place remotely.
The advantage of the presentation is the various pictures, diagrams and other graphics that you might not even be able to prepare by hand and which can tell you a lot. And although the company is relatively still the same, the counterparty changes, so I always adapt the same presentation to a specific meeting anyway.
And that means acknowledging your managerial post. I have never tried to appear as a technician, because simply a manager pretending to be a technician is a very transparent deception. It is not possible to acquire the know-how and experience of experts in a tiny fraction of the time, so it is worth saying outright that yes in a tech company, but in the position of a manager, so more of an economist than an IT guy.
It also wouldn’t look good if a technician presented the balance sheet and tried to explain it. It’s just a very ugly sight. You want me as a manager at the meeting, a manager is what you get.
No Price for Asking
I suppose that we are not ashamed to participate as managers in negotiations, but rather it is that sometimes we can forget something. For example, when negotiating, we can inform the other party that one of our technicians will be sitting at the table with us, if that is not a problem.
And if it’s not a problem, you can relax and move on (I like such negotiations). And if it becomes a problem, you will return to point No. 1 – notes and at least you will not get lost in the preparation process.
Do you also have a problem with 80% in 30 seconds or have you already managed to find the right recipe for communicating with the technicians on the other side of the negotiation table?