Effective communication is the cornerstone of meaningful conversations and the prerequisite when conveying complex ideas to non-technical audiences. In an era of infinite distractions and even greater cyber risks, today’s security leaders must use their voice and humor, wit, and ability to connect with a broad spectrum of individuals to make any sustainable impact on cyber hygiene and approach to cyber threats.
What drives conversations that keep people thinking?
Is it a strategy of conveying a pressure point, or maybe it's an understanding of your audience?
In truth, effective technical communicators have the desire to bring clarity specifically to their audience, break down the consistent points of confusion into simple terms and avoid sales or marketing-driven language which often leaves the reader without any real value for their hard-earned time.
In cybersecurity, the shortage of effective communicators has left many with the impression that the risks and applicable solutions are just too technical or difficult for them to execute.
Fortunately, with a few strategic adjustments, security leaders can alter the trajectory of their language and make more impact on their peer's approach to cyber risk management.
Effective cyber communication entails:
Minimize jargon. While the technical specificity of an attack, risk vector, or product might provide some value, for many the complexity of technical language induces fear. The solution lies in blending an understanding of pressure points and the value of technical solutions while not overly focusing on the technical nuances or endless data points.
Think Big Picture. While the minutia might get your audience to the problem at hand, more often than not they are looking for direct value or an understanding of how the solution at hand will help them manage a strategic risk on the near horizon. Effective cyber communicators can frame technologies and risk areas with clear problems and solutions without being bogged down with too much of the process or an overly technical discourse.
Know your audience. Effective communication is never about the speaker and should be entirely focused on the partner on the other side of the table. If you intend to give over technical problems or complex solutions, the key is the understand who your speaking to. Their risk profile, level of technical expertise, and role in the implantation hierarchy. By investing in understanding your audience, your message can be razor focused and hyper-effective.