Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Man-silence - It kills me!

So – today I did well. Of course I should, it’s only a demonstration I’ve done for the last 6 years. Tomorrow? Tomorrow is where I’m really worried. I have 3 presentations. One is all laid out and ready to go. It’s an 1 ½ hours long. One is laid out – and I think I just need to rehearse with the data a few times to make sure there are no surprises – that session is only an hour and fifteen minutes. Then? Then is the finally session. Thankfully only an hour and 15 minutes, but it’s going to be painful. A brand new program, no one has seen it before, I don’t like it (I think just because it’s new – and I am not comfortable), and I haven’t even begun to put together the demonstration – or rehearse. Obviously if I were SMART, I’d be holing up here in my room for the rest of the night to make it perfect. But no, I am leaving in a few minutes to have a dinner with some clients. This dinner is very important – and has further business implications than just this seminar – so I really cannot dodge it. Besides I really want to go! At lunch today we had another business meeting with two clients. I find it very frustrating. I bring together the technical side and the user – because the technical side has questions – and the user has the “knowledge”. We know we only have an hour (actually less) to discuss to potential programming projects, and what happens? Everyone stares at each other. Picture this: Five men sitting around a table – two are customers, one is a programmer, one is a support person, and the other is a “fabricator”. Does anyone broach the topics? NO. Does anyone get the ball rolling? No! So of course, I step in. Mit: “Mr. So-and-so, you’ve indicated you’re using product X instead of our product, but now that the developer in IN JAIL, you’re looking for other solutions. Our product doesn’t do X, can you tell us how it works?” Mr. So-and-so: “Well, you see when it gets scanned it goes from the computer to the PCL blah, blah, blah”. stuff I don’t understand So when he gets done describing … does anyone speak up??? HELL NO. They all just sit there and nod their heads. I start looking deeply into eyes. Do I need to ask another question? Did he just tell us bullshit? Are you lost too? But NO ONE COMMUNICATES WITH ME! So I start in on the questions. (about stuff I know nothing about). Finally, near the very, very, end of the conversation the programmer still hasn’t said anything. In desperation I say, “Do you understand what he’s saying?” Programmer: “Nods head” Mit: Can we make it work? Programmer: “Grunts” Mit looking at fabricator: “Do you understand the interface between the hardware and software and how his operation is set up?” Fabricator: I think so. Mit to programmer: So we can do this? Programmer: Shakes head again. Mit with exasperation: Will YOU PLEASE SAY SOMETHING? I don’t know why you’re not asking any questions. Do we have all the information we need? Programmer: I am thinking about the questions you asked, why you chose to ask those answers, what Mr. So-and-So said, and how to make it all work. Just keep asking questions, you’re doing a good job! 3 other men: Yes! Just keep asking the questions – we’ll figure it out! *sigh* great, I don’t understand WHAT I’m being told, but apparently we’ll have a new program developed out of today’s lunch meeting. You MEN are SO strange! And how would ANY OF THIS gotten done if I didn’t start the conversation??? Okay – going to drink now – then come back to the hotel and work!

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