‘Leave your inner geek at the door’

Many technical people are highly talented in their field, but lack the skills necessary to communicate effectively in the business world.

According to executives at West Allis-based Corporate Technology Solutions, a communication gap spans across the technology industry. To help with that problem, the company has developed a training seminar to assist in the development of “tech people” and their communication process.

“The seminar is really reaching out to those technical individuals who need help developing the right skills for their environment,” said Haitham Salawdeh, CTS president. “Across the industry the perception is that technical people don’t know how to communicate with a non-technical person, and sometimes they may even make (the non-technical person) feel inferior. We are here to help them change that.”

According to Cate Phillips, CTS’ vice president of sales and marketing, the seminar titled “Leave your Inner Geek at the Door” will focus on improving communication during conversation, a meeting, an interview and a presentation by using role play and discussion.

“The business world is changing in a way that requires technological people to interact more with the day-to-day business process,” Phillips said “Everything today is more and more integrated with technology, and historically technical people weren’t required to interact, so it was OK for them to be behind the scenes just making sure everything was in working order.”

However, today, technology is on the forefront, Salawdeh said. Individuals with technological skills are more valuable in the workplace.

“We want to make these people more well-rounded, so they are positioned for growth and expansion in the future,” Salawdeh said. “By improving their communications skills, we can make them more marketable to a wide variety of companies in case they should need to be re-hired somewhere else.”

Historically, technology people that did possess good communication skills were typically promoted to management positions very quickly, Phillips said.

That too became a problem because those people then were not using their technical skills and basically became translators and mediators, she said.

“We want all technical people to be able to use and grow their skills, and the only way to do that is to make sure they are equipped with the right tools to be able to communicate with other people in the workplace without the need for a translator of any kind,” Phillips said.

Corporate Technology Solutions does consulting work in addition to being a technology company.

“We get to see both sides of the situation first hand, and we think technical people can understand and see those trends as well,” Phillips said.

According to Salawdeh, a technical person who has managed to develop his or her communication skills are often especially rewarded through the education process.

“We see it all the time, software engineering majors typically don’t have to interact, they don’t have to give a presentation on their projects, and they rarely have to explain what it is they are doing,” he said. “That isn’t the case anymore, especially in business. We are doing this because I truly believe these people want to be a part of ‘society’ and they want to interact. They just need to learn how to.”

“Leave your Inner Geek at the Door” will be offered on Tuesday, Oct. 18, from 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. at Corporate Technology Solutions, Inc., 1126 S. 70th St., West Allis.

The event is free to attend. To register visit, www.consult-cts.com/events.


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