- Check for questions. At the conclusion of each topic, not just at the end of the meeting, check for questions. If being considerate of questions is something new in your organization or department, you may have to overcome the reluctance of some people to ask questions.
- Clearly define terms. Be sure to define each topic term clearly when you first use it, and make it obvious when you are switching topics. You should have definitions written out in advance, that use plain language and avoid references to other words that would not be known to the meeting attendees.
- Be brave. Ask a question when you don't understand. Often others will have the same question. Lead by asking. Others will follow your example.
- Be considerate. Be patient in helping someone else understand what you are saying. It's your responsibility as the person speaking to make sure that you get your message across. This means you have to take the steps necessary to clearly explain what you are saying at the level of the listener. Remember what Einstein said: "If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it well enough yourself."
About the author: Ray Bernard, PSP, heads up Ray Bernard Consulting Services. RBCS is online at www.go-rbcs.com. He can be reached via email a firstname.lastname@example.org or reached via telephone at (949) 831-6788. This article originally appeared in Security Technology & Design magazine and has been the handout of choice at numerous security conference presentations. Ray Bernard will be addressing a similar topic in the webinar "Bits and Bytes for Security Types: What Every Security Director Needs to Know about IT" -- sign-up to view that webinar here.
(c) 2003 by Ray Bernard.