Monday 2:50 p.m.–3:15 p.m.

How to talk to humans: a different approach to soft skills

Sharon Steed

Audience level:

Not Applicable


Developers are trained to communicate with technology. When talking to a computer, typing in code nets an immediate response. Simple. Straight forward. Talking to people? Not necessarily. Why? Because people need empathy and a great story. In an industry filled with brilliant minds and great ideas, not enough of the best know how to tell their compelling story. This talk teaches you how.


Developers are trained to communicate to things with a goal in mind. When you're talking to something like, say a computer, you type in your code and it responds by giving you back what you want. Nine times out of ten, it works perfectly. Why, then, is it so difficult to do this same thing when talking to a client about a project, updating a superior on your progress, or pitching an investor your million-dollar idea? Because talking to people requires a special set of skills - namely, empathy and a little bit of storytelling. In an industry filled with brilliant minds, great ideas and mass disruption, so few of the best and brightest know how to tell their compelling story. The takeaways from this workshop will be learning how to value the listener and use vulnerability to improve your social connection.

This talk will take you through the difficulty of broken communication - I, myself, stutter and have great difficulty in saying the simplest things - to discovering how to reframe your perceived weaknesses. None of us are perfect, but sometimes those things that we feel are our weak points are the exact things that we can use to our advantage.