When you think of some of the top skills a developer needs, what comes to mind is time management, problem-solving, organisational skills, and adaptability. Communication skills are not something that usually falls on that list however they should. If you cannot communicate how you are going to implement something to a client, or you cannot obtain the accurate information you need to do a task you will hit many roadblocks along the way.
Reasons why communication skills are important
What can happen if the developer does not have good communication skills is, that it can lead to new features being planned out incorrectly. It can also lead to the client misinterpreting what is going to be developed or what has been developed. Both of these scenarios can lead to a lot of headaches down the line such as:
- The client not being happy with the end product.
- Waisted time going back and forth trying to get to the envisioned feature.
- The client being led to believe the code was implemented incorrectly because of a bad explanation.
Tips on improving your communication skills
When a client is explaining a new feature they would like implemented, ask as many questions as needed (no question is a stupid question) to make sure you understand what needs to be implemented.
When demoing or explaining a new feature make sure to use as little technical terminology as possible and make it easy for any skill level to understand. To do this make sure you understand the feature in detail, the more you understand something the easier it is to explain it.
Something I would like to share that helps me
I am sure we have all helped our parents or grandparents with something technical and had to explain how to use an app in a very basic way.
I remember when I used to work at a retirement village and was helping a lady with her computer and she asked me what the recycle bin icon was. The way I explained to her was that the recycle bin on her desktop is like the small bin in her kitchen, she throws items in it but is able to take something out that she might have thrown out by accident. But every week she takes the bin out so that the rubbish can be removed and once it has been removed she cannot get anything back which is the same way the empty recycle bin button works.
I know our clients are usually more tech-savvy than our grandparents but I try to think of how I had to explain things at the retirement village whenever I am explaining something to a client. When getting information from a client for a new feature I try to make sure I have all the information I need so that if I had to explain this new feature to my grandparents I could.