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How to develop better communication skills?

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Senior Software Engineer at Series F Startup2 years ago

I have realised over the years that I have gained good amount of technical knowledge but I lack great communication skills (in terms of expressing my thoughts). This was okay till I was working as software engineer as my task involved more of coding work which does not require explaining things to large audience. Now as a Senior Engineer my task revolves around making design choices, explaining pros/cons of selecting an approach etc. I realised that even though I am confident on my technical approach, I sometimes fail to express myself and the approach in the right way during the discussion which led to times when my approach is discarded and others as selected as they express themselves better. I need some suggestions on how to improve on this aspect as this will be crucial part going forward in my career.

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    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    2 years ago

    This is a great match for 2 of the video series I made, which are:

    I also highly recommend this discussion on how to speak more assertively and confidently at work. In an ideal world, everyone is just some perfect calculating machine and the best decision is chosen every time. However, that's not how things work: Perception is crucial. Even if your approach is actually the best and you believe in it, if people don't believe that you deeply believe that your path is the best from how you communicate and carry yourself when vouching for it, they won't follow you.

    Another piece of advice I have around galvanizing your team around you when it comes to design decisions is to figure out the core values of your team/org/company and weave that into your approach.

    For example, I worked at Meta during a time when privacy scandals and system stability issues were rife and really hurting the company. To make my argument more compelling as a tech lead when proposing a technical approach, I always brought up the angles of safety, scalability, and robustness and why my strategy really championed these values.

    Since you work at a startup, I imagine velocity is important, but Series F is very mature for a startup. It's possible the values I mentioned before are also valuable for your organization, especially if it's had problems with launches blowing up (in the bad way) recently.

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