Are you looking for some ideas to help you get your point across confidently and effectively?
Read on to find out about my experiences as an Oracle Consultant, and what techniques I use to have my voice heard, in each new role I have taken on.
We all know that every project, workplace, and individual is different, so being flexible is crucial to your success as a good communicator.
Often you’ll have to rely on your own judgment in deciding when and how to appropriately express your opinion and ideas. However, there are some basic guidelines which I use:
1) You Are The Expert
It’s important to remember; you have what people want. As the resident expert on you will be expected to answer the client’s questions – after all that’s why the client is paying you. This means, if you work out how to communicate your ideas and opinions effectively, that you can position yourself as a tremendous asset to the project team and the entire organization. As I’m sure you can appreciate, this is a great place to be.
2) Offering Your Opinion
A manager of mine once said, “You have to say what you think, even if you turn out to be wrong.” This is a fundamental rule of consulting, one I wish I had paid more attention to, when I started out.
Whether or not you are new to consulting you have to realize that consultants are expected to bring both skills and expert opinions to the team. Consultants are hired for their broader expertise and knowledge base as well as their ability to perform specific tasks. For instance a primary part of being an Oracle consultant is that you will be frequently asked to provide your opinion on Oracle matters. If offering your opinion freely is new to you and doesn’t come naturally, it is something that you will become more comfortable with over time.
3) Qualify Your Opinion
You can also qualify your opinions, by stating what you think up-front, and doing some analysis to back it up. Remember also that Oracle exhibits the same behaviors and results across different business areas, and at a technical level table structures share many similar characteristics across modules. The experience you’ve accumulated working with Oracle during your career allows you to make informed “educated guesses” and recommend a sound course of action, even if you’re not entirely familiar with the specifics of the business unit or process at hand.
4) Confident Expression
An idea or opinion confidently expressed puts everyone at ease, and increases the recipient’s confidence in you. Effectively offering your opinion is a balancing act between appearing knowledgeable, without professing to know everything about a function or process. This is a skill that you’ll develop over time; remember that it’s your skill set and expertise that’s gotten you where you are, so you can be confident in your ability to provide valuable insight, regardless of whether your opinion turns out to be 100% correct every time.
5) Communicating Your Ideas
Offering your idea in an Oracle project can involve communicating your ideas with various teams. Each time you propose your idea, you refine it and get better at expressing it. People who hear the idea respond with comments and this feedback loop improves the idea each time.
You might start with your solution architect
Get some input from other functional team members
Discuss with technical team to determine feasibility
Quality team could advise on compliance requirements
Summarize your idea for senior management
You can see that the same idea needs to be described in different ways so that your audience can get an understanding of what you are proposing.
Never forget you are the expert; in Oracle terms you will likely be the smartest person in the room. Look for opportunities to confidently provide your expert opinion, leaning on your experience and knowledge of the subject matter at hand; if you are unsure you can also qualify your opinions.
Remember that people communicate differently, both in how they give and how they receive information. When expressing your ideas try various different approaches, from giving the facts, bullet points, anecdotes, diagrams and images if appropriate, in order to appeal to your wider audience.
I like to be well prepared and give a lot of detail, but some recipients like the big picture, so if in doubt, ask them. Usually senior personnel want high-level details, operations staff might want more detail and actual examples. Any issue can be summarized or expanded to varying levels of detail, so be aware who you are talking to, what seniority they hold, and adjust your communication accordingly.