By GalTime Consumer Watchdog Mary Schwager
speak geekCan you speak geek? Can you understand geek? When you walk into an electronics store within 30 seconds of conversing with a sales person does it all start to sound geek to you? For example, how does your mind process the following terms:
Is a Teraflop:
A: Cute and cruelty free earthy flip flops
B: About one trillion floating-point operations per second
Is a Kilobyte:
A: An amount of cocaine seized in a bust
B: A measurement of computer storage
A: Feelings of intense pain
B: A measurement of processing or memory speed
A: Peta's endorsement on certain brands of cute and cruelty free manufactured flip flops
B: A measurement of computer speed
You may have figured it out: A is always the wrong answer. But if the A's were the choice that made the most sense in your mind, you may want to consider Dr. Thomas Shelden Griggs aka, "The Geek Whisperer's" 7 Steps for How to "How to Speak Geek", by playing something called the "Novice Game."
It may help you effectively communicate the next time you're in an electronics store without thinking to yourself, "This really bytes!
Related: How to Edit a PDF Document
How to Speak Geek
1. Make a top ten question list to ask your geek:
If you could get these questions answered clearly you will be able to make a sound decision. Success depends on great questions, here's a few ideas:
Why do people choose this model compared to that model?
Who is this product NOT right for?
Which of these features will someone like me probably NOT need?
2. Set up a practice session of the Novice Game:
Take your top 10 list and practice asking the questions to your pals. Interview each other with the goal being to limit your questions and answers to single sentences only. Have someone else count sentences for you and let you know immediately when you slip into unconscious blah-blah. Use your practice session to distinguish weak from strong questions. Know that while the "Novice Game" sounds simple, it can be very difficult.
3. Introduce the Novice Game in the store.
Tell the sales person you want to understand what they are saying and you have a way of learning that works for you, tell the geek:
1) "I will ask you a one-sentence question."
2) "You will give me your best one-sentence answer."
3) "I will ask you a one-sentence follow-up question, OR I will pose a new one- sentence question."
4) "In each case you will give me your best one-sentence answer."
If you are hesitant to ask your sales-geek to play remember:
Geeks Want to Be Helpful
Geeks Like Challenging Games
It's Their Job
Related: 10 FREE Ways to Speed Up Your PC
4. Interview your geek for 3-5 minutes.
Start your clock. Move through your prepared list, asking each of your questions one-sentence-at-a-time and asking follow-up questions. Be patient. Your geek will need time to think about their single best one-sentence answer. Volume will go down. Quality will go up. The key is to stay strictly with the one-sentence format otherwise you will both quickly revert to common chit chat.
After 3 to 5 minutes take a break. Talk about the experience. If you are getting what you need tell the geek it's working.
5. Play additional rounds as needed.
If you have uncovered additional questions after the first round you can play another using the same format. If you need to, take a few minutes without talking to compose your next set of one sentence questions.
You may want to open the game to allow the geek to ask you additional questions. If they do, it give them a small block of time to ask their questions all at once. (The game is more likely to break down if you attempt to trade questions back and forth one at a time.) Stick to single sentences!
Play until your questions are answered
6. Celebrate Your Geek!
Thank your geek. Give them positive recognition for their willingness to play. Let them know the process worked. If this was the best sales encounter you ever had, tell them that!
7. Continue Your Practice to Become a Geek Whisperer.
Report back to your pals. Tell them what was easy and what was hard. Support them in becoming geek whisperers, too. The more you practice the one-sentence-question-and-answer the more skilled you will become and the more applications you will discover.
Consumer Watchdog Mary would like to thank Gerry Polucci, founder of www.smartparents.com for the time spent consulting and helping her create the quiz in the beginning of this column. She confesses she really would choose the flip flops over the computer speeds…
More from GalTime:
- How Technology Will Change the Way You Shop
- 5 Ways to Help Your PC Help You
- How YOU Can Be Printer Free for Life
- Best FREE Services on the Internet