The IT architect is a communication hub between company management, end users, systems developers and other stakeholders. If an architect fails to communicate clearly, it can mean a conceptual breakdown further down the line if talking to developers, elevated costs and animosity if dealing with project managers or even project cancellation when talking to upper management. As a senior technical person you already know how to problem solve and translate ideas into working systems and code. Because you are an Architect working with teams, you now have to solve a few more problems which have nothing technical about them. One major barrier to cross is delivering your ideas to others clearly when you deliver a formal presentation – your “presentation” skills.
There are different Foch for each type of presentation but the principles are the same. Presentation skills start with what you need to tell and who the audience is. It includes the way you create your slides (e.g. telling a story vs. bullet points) and goes into how you present, your stance, your interaction with the audience, voice modulation etc. If you don’t present confidently you will not sell the message for change you are trying to convey, so strong belief in what you are doing is a must too. Are presentation skills enough to get your message across the line and create influence? Not really, because explaining yourself clearly is only the start. Dialog with the other stakeholders is also key, so you can reach an agreement that you are right, or negotiate middle ground somewhere or acknowledge your errors and then move forward. So another key component of communication is negotiation skills.
Negotiation skills let you defuse a situation that can deteriorate into a school yard scrap shouting at each other (ever seen grown men do that?) and instead create a collaborative common problem solving experience. To have a successful collaborative relationship inside an organization you must remember it is ongoing. To create an atmosphere of give and take for the common good all parties must trust each other. All parties to the negotiations must be prepared to work together as collaborators rather than pushing their own agendas. Your communication has to be open and accurate, because if it isn’t the collaboration becomes a competition. After all, as an IT architect, you want to communicate so you can establish working relationships and keep them working smoothly. Your coach can help you develop these skills, because you need them if you are going to do your job effectively.