Soft Skills for the IT Pro



  • @black3dynamite said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    @animal said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    @black3dynamite said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    Communication is an important one. For me, It took awhile getting comfortable at communicating with users when I first started working in IT.

    Thanks for the feedback @black3dynamite - What in particular took a while for you in regards to communication? Just talking to them while working on their machines or in regards to responding to tickets, etc.

    I was really shy so just talking with them was a challenge. And that can be either over the phone or in person. Eye contact while talking with them. Responding to emails after the job is done, etc.

    Good stuff. I had an intern one time that was really shy and after training him for 4-6 weeks I had him do a presentation in front of 40 people on his experiences. He probably hated me at the time, but now he's a great friend of mine and isn't afraid to talk to people anymore.



  • @animal said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    @momurda said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    Trying not to condescend to users is a tough one; sometimes I am thinking "Youve been using a gd computer for 20 years, 8 hours a day, at least, and you dont know how to do this?" but of course one cant say that.

    Haha, but we really do want to say that sometimes. I used to treat everyone like they never saw a computer before.

    But in many ways, isn't automatically treating people that way essentially the definition of condescending? It's just that people that need to be condescended to won't notice.

    That's the thing about condescension, when you actually do it, the person to whom you are doing it rarely knows it. They typically only notice when you aren't doing it, but they've gotten used to others doing it.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    @momurda said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    Trying not to condescend to users is a tough one; sometimes I am thinking "Youve been using a gd computer for 20 years, 8 hours a day, at least, and you dont know how to do this?" but of course one cant say that.

    I found this a lot in online discussions... condescension is hard to define. To one person, speaking to them as a peer and expecting them to be competent is considered being condescending (to people with no clue what condescension is.) To others, and far more legitimately, assuming they can't do their jobs and even politely simplifying things for them is condescension.

    Of course, to truly be condescending you have to act superior and be patronizing, and you can avoid that. But people perceive condescension regardless of how you talk to them in many cases.

    You touched on a great point here. How do you even know that's how you're being perceived right? Sometimes that's a challenge in itself.



  • @animal said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    @black3dynamite said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    @animal said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    @black3dynamite said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    Communication is an important one. For me, It took awhile getting comfortable at communicating with users when I first started working in IT.

    Thanks for the feedback @black3dynamite - What in particular took a while for you in regards to communication? Just talking to them while working on their machines or in regards to responding to tickets, etc.

    I was really shy so just talking with them was a challenge. And that can be either over the phone or in person. Eye contact while talking with them. Responding to emails after the job is done, etc.

    Good stuff. I had an intern one time that was really shy and after training him for 4-6 weeks I had him do a presentation in front of 40 people on his experiences. He probably hated me at the time, but now he's a great friend of mine and isn't afraid to talk to people anymore.

    My boss had me did something like that too. In fact, I've been there when I was playing sports in Jr High and High School. Get me to be an actively communicate on the basketball court.



  • I always approach users with understanding and patience. A lot of people have anxiety related to computers and are convinced they cannot learn it, but do because of how I handle them. The end result is they feel more confident, they do a better job and we have a great working relationship.



  • I've never had a problem being out talking to people in small settings. I've been commended, officially from feedback to superiors, at every position I have held over the years for great personal skills.

    I think "people" are fucking stupid though, and will quickly run out of patience with a crowd large enough to have a low group intelligence.

    So I self select the who I will deal with.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    @momurda said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    Trying not to condescend to users is a tough one; sometimes I am thinking "Youve been using a gd computer for 20 years, 8 hours a day, at least, and you dont know how to do this?" but of course one cant say that.

    I found this a lot in online discussions... condescension is hard to define. To one person, speaking to them as a peer and expecting them to be competent is considered being condescending (to people with no clue what condescension is.) To others, and far more legitimately, assuming they can't do their jobs and even politely simplifying things for them is condescension.

    Of course, to truly be condescending you have to act superior and be patronizing, and you can avoid that. But people perceive condescension regardless of how you talk to them in many cases.

    TL:DR Don't talk down to me!! Then why the hell don't you know how to turn on the laptop you've had for over a year?!



  • @scottalanmiller said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    @animal said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    @momurda said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    Trying not to condescend to users is a tough one; sometimes I am thinking "Youve been using a gd computer for 20 years, 8 hours a day, at least, and you dont know how to do this?" but of course one cant say that.

    Haha, but we really do want to say that sometimes. I used to treat everyone like they never saw a computer before.

    But in many ways, isn't automatically treating people that way essentially the definition of condescending? It's just that people that need to be condescended to won't notice.

    That's the thing about condescension, when you actually do it, the person to whom you are doing it rarely knows it. They typically only notice when you aren't doing it, but they've gotten used to others doing it.

    We're getting real deep here now haha. I love the conversations though. I doubt there's a perfect way to talk to someone in our world of IT, as someone else mentioned the very fact that someone doesn't know something you do can appear condescending by the nature of teaching them. I think if you can do the best you can to understand a client's needs (internal or external client) and don't act like a tool then you'll be ok.



  • There's been some really good conversations here (thank you all) and what I think could be really interesting is this... Maybe IT people need some soft skills, but maybe there's a need to show the users we support why we appear like we don't have soft skills at times. Maybe, just maybe, it appears that we're lacking in soft skills when really it's the users that are being condescending.

    To that point I wonder if it's worth it to create some videos around user interaction with IT. Like a couple of scenarios from both points of view. One where it looks like the IT pro is talking down to the user, and the other where the IT pro is really just trying to help. Hmmmm



  • @animal said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    There's been some really good conversations here (thank you all) and what I think could be really interesting is this... Maybe IT people need some soft skills, but maybe there's a need to show the users we support why we appear like we don't have soft skills at times. Maybe, just maybe, it appears that we're lacking in soft skills when really it's the users that are being condescending.

    To that point I wonder if it's worth it to create some videos around user interaction with IT. Like a couple of scenarios from both points of view. One where it looks like the IT pro is talking down to the user, and the other where the IT pro is really just trying to help. Hmmmm

    It is always a struggle because no one wants to be proven wrong, unfortunately with computer problems anyone using a computer will see it as their fault when something happens and then it becomes a blame game. The user doesn't want to be blamed, the IT person does not want to get blamed. You fix the issue and show how you fixed it and it might come across as condescending or superior. However that is the way things appear to the other end.

    It is like me getting upset at things by the mere fact of words, sometimes I have gotten upset at @scottalanmiller or @JaredBusch by words said that are just that. It might look like an attack but in reality is just a statement and I need to work better at that.



  • @dbeato shove off powder puff!



  • @dustinb3403 said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    @dbeato shove off powder puff!

    Then some of us are just condescending ******** sometimes.

    Of course, sometimes I deserve having someone be a condescending ******** to me. I know I do idiotic things, hopefully less often as time goes by. If I'm being an ID10T, I want someone to tell me.

    Sadly, my attitude is not reflected in the general population.



  • @travisdh1 said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    @dustinb3403 said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    @dbeato shove off powder puff!

    Then some of us are just condescending ******** sometimes.

    Of course, sometimes I deserve having someone be a condescending ******** to me. I know I do idiotic things, hopefully less often as time goes by. If I'm being an ID10T, I want someone to tell me.

    That’s true as well.



  • @travisdh1 said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    @dustinb3403 said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    @dbeato shove off powder puff!

    Then some of us are just condescending ******** sometimes.

    Of course, sometimes I deserve having someone be a condescending ******** to me. I know I do idiotic things, hopefully less often as time goes by. If I'm being an ID10T, I want someone to tell me.

    Exactly, I feel the same.



  • @animal said in Soft Skills for the IT Pro:

    There's been some really good conversations here (thank you all) and what I think could be really interesting is this... Maybe IT people need some soft skills, but maybe there's a need to show the users we support why we appear like we don't have soft skills at times. Maybe, just maybe, it appears that we're lacking in soft skills when really it's the users that are being condescending.

    Everyone needs soft skills. Period.

    The application of said skills will vary greatly depending on the job duties.


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