Last week one of our awesome Developer Evangelists Nick Quinlan took us through his top tips and tricks he uses when communicating code. The main takeaways included:

Here’s a little context for each point:

  1. They’re Smarter Than You– If you assume whoever you are talking to is smarter than you, then you avoid making the mistake of talking down to them.
  2. Understand Your Audience– Ask who they are, what their background is, and then from there you can cater your conversation so it’s more valuable to them.
  3. Think Big Picture First– Always give the main idea first so people know where you are coming from, then backtrack into more information/details. Give them a place to start.
  4. Kill The Jargon– First start without jargon and proceed from there, or teach them as you go starting with the basics.
  5. Don’t Get Lost In the Details– It’s really easy as a developer to get lost in what you are talking about with minor details–unfortunately this can also mean you just lost your audience.
  6. Don’t Go Deeper Than Necessary– Decide ahead of time how much the person you are communicating with needs to know and go from there. Don’t give them unnecessary info.
  7. Use Examples– Showing can work better than telling at times.
  8. Metaphor– Make a metaphor catered to the experience/specialty of the person you are speaking with if possible.
  9. Repeat Yourself- Say it once, then say it again, and again, until it really sinks in.

Communication Tip–> Depending on the situation, graphics can be a great idea! We used the app Over to make this beaut above.

Do you have any major tips or tricks you use for communicating your code we missed? If so, please leave them in the comments below. For the full 30 min video of Nick’s webcast (complete with examples for each point) you can access it here. Thanks!

Kate Schmeisser
When Kate isn't trying to teach herself the ukelele, make it through the mountain of books on her nightstand, or figure out if they are actually being serious about suggested serving sizes on ice cream, she is the Creative Content Manager.