I explain it – I even put my hand on the LGWR circle, explain what it does – how it can send data. Go to next slide (question and answer slide – we are at the end). At that point the sale rep says “hey, can you go back a slide”. I do – he asks “what is that LGWR thing, is that a product, I’ve never heard of it?”
Much laughter at that point and he has no idea why. I explain what LGWR is to him (the rest of the room was mostly DBA’s and Developers, they already knew what it meant).
That reminded me of something I just read the night before in “The Tipping Point” – a book recommended to me by many others that I finished reading the night before. One of the stories in that book was about a test where people competent in some area were asked to develop a series of questions that were “hard but not impossible” to answer. They would invariably have questions about their area of interest.
They were directed to ask these questions to someone not competent in their area of expertise. The person being asked to answer would not feel “so smart” as a result (they had no chance of answering really). Afterwards the person asked the questions was asked to rate the intelligence of the person asking the questions – they invariably would rate them very high.
You can appear to be really smart if you know a little more than most of the people in the room. Or, you can appear to be speaking in a foreign language…
So, what is the point? This is why I believe there are no dumb questions – none. We all know what we know. We don’t know that which we don’t know. Ask away, nothing is too small to ask about.
I’m glad he asked – it was a chance to make lighthearted fun of him (self deprecating humor is always good), but he also now “knows” to some degree what LGWR means in the future. I’m not afraid to stop someone to explain an acronym/internal name of something when they are talking to me. It can help a lot actually – the presenter/people around the table will know from then on in “must talk in different terms”. As someone that talks to many different types of people, I rely on these cues to know how detailed to be about something. I think that others appreciate it as well.
Maybe this is why I get nervous if I get a ways into something and there are no questions – to me that means “I must be talking way beneath them, they already know this, they are getting bored”. Or, it means “I’m speaking in a foreign language, way above them and they are totally not getting a single thing”
It was a good call though – a 2 hour talk turned into a 4 hour conversation. Those are the best.