The delicate process of relationship-building was explored in all its psychological depths yesterday in the InfoComm Professional Development Training “Needs Analysis of End-User Requirements — What Are They Really Saying?” session taught by Bill Thomas, CTS-I, a staff instructor from the association.
Detailing the finer points of “getting to people’s real feelings” from the initial project interview through to a follow-up survey after commissioning, “it’s all about creating comfort,” Thomas emphasized. “Our end-users aren’t technologists like us. Create an atmosphere where it’s okay for them to say what they think and what’s on their mind, rather than talking them through ‘Technology, technology, technology’ and ‘We really want to look smart.’ If we make them feel bad that they don’t know as much about technology as us, then we haven’t connected with them.”
To gain better results from meetings, take careful note of the atmosphere you’re generating, the body language you and your client are using, and continually check understanding. “Keep asking, “Does this seem right to you? Am I understanding what you’re asking for? Do you understand what I am talking about? Is that what you think too?”
Tailoring your interview to the person with whom you are speaking is key, asking questions about the aspects of the system with which they will connect and interact on a daily basis.
The classroom was abuzz with discussion on the best questions to ask in the interview process, and how to elicit ideas and needs from potential clients. In general, InfoComm training at ISE is a tremendous draw, particularly for Peter Fox, sales director of Digicom in Dublin, Ireland. “I come to this event for the learning, to learn more about the industry and the happenings within the industry. I concentrate more on attending classes than going to stands,” he said, adding, “I’m basically in these classrooms or in one of the show-floor Unified Communications or Commercial Solutions Theatres all day.”