When dealing with clients and speaking to prospective clients I have always found that they appreciate being told technical details in a way in which they are able to deal with. Take hosting for example. The client doesn’t need to know that their website will be on a server located in the Gnax datacenter on a clustered Linux server running the latest Apache 2.2.8 version, with PHP 5.2.5 pre-installed.
The clients do however need to know the principles behind how their website is run. I’ve found that simplifying hosting into an analogy of a house really helps clients to understand the workings of a website a lot better. In effect the server just acts as is a place to live, it is where all the files reside, and when someone knows our address (domain name) they will come to the house and we can show them around. Every once in a while we either have to clean the site (maintenance) or we have to do some D.I.Y (server downtime) which prevents people from coming in to look at our house.
All too often (and it’s very easy to do) technical folks forget that 99.8% of the population have no idea how a website works, and nor do they want to. It’s this that keeps people in work on the Internet, but at the same time those working in this field have to recognise that being a geek will mean that what you say will go straight over a clients head. This doesn’t lend itself to a good client relationship, and so therefore a more human approach is always favoured.
This touches on the principles behind communication. Communication is a two-way process, consisting of a speaker and a listener. It is always the role of the speaker to ensure that the listener understands the message. That art of communication is tough to master, but simply knowing the target audience and tailoring applicable communication methods to them plays a vital role in ensuring that the listener fully understands the message which is being communicated.