Wednesday 14 August 2013

Communicating Kindly

Starting to blog has made me realise that testing makes me a ranty person. These rants are generally released in cathartic blog format, but occasionally an innocent tester will fall victim to a spiel as they touch upon a frustration that others have created. Here's how I try to keep my conversations friendly and my ideas accessible to others.

Answer the question

If you've been asked a question that has been phrased in a way that makes you want to start by correcting the question itself, stop. Take a deep breath. Just answer the question. There's a time and a place for correcting misconceptions and it's not at the start of the journey. In all likelihood, the mistake in asking is due to ignorance that you could help correct, if you chose to answer the question in the first place.

Share your experience

We test in different ways, interacting with different applications, in a variety of project teams. Though you may need the context of a situation to give good advice, you could start with some general advice by providing the basics. Share what has worked in your experience. Offer links to the good content that lurks in shadows of the internet. Sow the seeds for a beginning; give people something to start from.

It's not their fault

I have trigger words or phrases that really fire me up. I like to think this is a common foible. It's really important not to go in to Hyde mode, because I don't think anything productive comes of it. Your audience tune out and label you as unhelpful. You end up feeling guilty for releasing the beast on those who don't deserve it.

Stay tuned

If someone is asking a question, you're unlikely to be able to resolve anything in a single conversation. A question is like an iceberg, you only see 10% of what the person wants to know. Do your best to start a dialog where further questions are encouraged. Give yourself the opportunity to build a relationship, rather than attempting to solve every problem in one reply. The more sharing that occurs, the better the advice becomes.

What would you add?

1 comment:

  1. Not just innocent testers who fall victim to rants :(