Tips for Success: Bedside Manners

Jeff Hays, Director of IT“IT guy”…  It’s a label IT professionals have come to embrace.  The term the “IT guy” is commonly used as a reference for someone that comes in and fixes computer problems.  But I’ve learned that there is a difference between the IT guy and an IT professional or trusted advisor.  Here are a couple of tips to help the IT guy transcend into an IT professional or trusted advisor in a consultative manner.  These tips helped me over the years to change the way customers look at what I do for them.  Think of them as bedside manners for the IT professional.

1) Get down to their level.  Physically that is. People don’t like to have someone standing over their shoulder or over them.  If possible, pull up a chair and talk to people at eye level.  It seems to take the edge off problematic situations.

2) Don’t talk technical.  A good IT professional can translate from technical to common terms.  Try to use a metaphor as an example to explain what you mean.

3) Try to leave people with a positive.  Most people call the IT guy because they have a problem.  IT guys just solve the problem, but an IT professional walks away after also showing the person something makes their life a little bit easier.  Even something as small as a keyboard shortcut will do the trick.

4) Try putting yourself in their shoes to relate better.  Listen first and understand the impact of what you are working on and how it is affecting the individual.  It may be a small issue to you, but a big issue for them.

If you follow these basic bedside manners, you may find yourself helping your career in the long run and being better suited to create long term relationships with your coworkers and customers.  Give it a shot and let us know how it works out!

Jeff Hays

Through our lasting business relationships, we’ve developed specialization in tax, audit, IT and consulting services for manufacturing, wholesale distribution, construction and real estate, professional services, and U.S. subsidiaries of foreign-owned companies.
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