Too Abstract

Most days I get the feeling that nobody understands what I'm talking about.

This is the problem with being too abstract. Many people have difficulty with abstract models of behavior and being a person that spends nearly all my time working with abstract models I sometimes find myself in the position of speaking Greek to a Latin audience. The Greek is appreciated by the Latins but not really all that well understood.

When we as programmers communicate software designs or the impact of new technologies we often will get those blank stares. The way to help mitigate those blank stares is to use concrete stories. Stories with people's names that contain actions that people really need to perform. If you can say: "Now when Joe wants to check his mail he can do so from anywhere that has an internet connection." instead of "This is a web enabled mail client." That's more words but easier for lay-users to understand.

For example instead of "This Ajax mail client will allow our end users to use mash-ups of corporate data in email." you could say, "Now when you check your mail and hover over an order number with your mouse a little bubble will show the order details. You can click in the bubble to get other data on that order." The second example is wordy but hopefully easier to get people's minds around.

When we teach sales people we teach them to put emphasis on benefits not features. In our example the "Ajax Mash-up" is a feature but the "hover over an Order number for quicker access to details" is a benefit. Sometimes our jobs as technologists are more about sales than about technology. Instead of booking orders we are trying to buy mind-share for our thoughts and ideas.