It is not a secret that the ability to communicate is one of the most essential skills in life. Moreover, this skill is ranked as a ‘must have’ skill for the majority of service providing companies.
That is why at Diatom Enterprises one of our main strategies is to support and encourage self-development among our team members; especially communication skills. During all of our years in the IT field, we have understood that one of the keys to success in a custom software development company is the ability to a find a common language with each of our clients, our partners, and even our colleagues. This is why from time to time we organize; as well as, attend conferences/classes related to enhancing our communication skills. This allows each member of our team to boost the skills they already possess and to acquire new expertise in this area.
One such event was an internal course Diatom had about public speaking. For several months, course participants practiced various presentation skills with a guest lecturer, which concluded with each participant presenting their own speech/presentation to the whole Diatom team. This training enabled our employees to overcome their fear of public speaking, to become a more confident communicator, and to improvise when necessary. The final presentations were very successful. They showed that our team is now able to successfully implement several public speaking techniques that help them become better communicators.
Verbal Judo: Find Your Way Through Confrontation
Not only do we attend classes, but some of our team members also perform as guest lectures within the Latvian market. One such event, that we are very proud of, took place the first week of June. Darja Krizska, Head of Sales and Marketing at Diatom Enterprises, gave an outstanding presentation about “Verbal Judo” at the LatCraft Conference. The aim of her lecture was to teach participants how to deal with unjustified verbal attacks.
We are all unjustly attacked by someone now and then. I’m sure we have all heard something like this before: “You always miss the deadlines!” or “Your code is a mess!”. We bet, everyone has heard similar unfair accusations at least once in their lifetime. In most cases, such statements are only partially true and the attacker just had to “kick the cat”, i.e., to give away the negative energy s/he has. The most important fact to remember in such situations is, it’s not about you, it’s about the negative energy of the attacker. Verbal Judo is used to protect yourself from such attacks.
Darja in the process of telling about the Verbal Judo
During the seminar, Darja gave some advice on how to turn the negative energy from your attacker into a responder’s advantage. She said, “The secret key is to restrain yourself and wait until the moment when the attacker has finished spewing all his negativity and is calm.” The most typical response is to make an excuse or accuse the attacker, which will definitely cause more conflict. Instead, Darja proposes that respondents should evaluate the attacker’s statement and determine what if any parts of the statement are true. For instance, if an attacker says that you are always late. First, ask yourself “Am I always late? – No! Am I sometimes late? – Well, yes.” Then respond with something like this, “Yes, I agree, sometimes I should be more punctual.” The next step is very crucial, you should then ask, “What else upsets you about me?” You may think such a technique would make the attacker attack you again, but since the attacker has already got rid of all his/her negative energy, they will be open to a respectable conversation. If you would like to learn more about this particular skill, please watch the video of the seminar.
In conclusion, it is our opinion that it is very important to develop your team member’s communication skills through various available methods, be it educational videos, seminars, conferences, or classes. Our experience has shown us that in most cases projects fail due to poor communication, not poor technical knowledge. Therefore, we believe that by investing in your team members and improving their communication skills, your company will have successful projects, thus satisfied clients.
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