1: Be fluent in the language of your audience

1: Be fluent in the language of your audience

Over the coming weeks, months, years (and decades), I’m going to be writing about one hundred things I’ve learned about being a product manager.

One of the roles a product manager or product marketing manager plays is to act as a translator between different groups of people.  Sometimes this can be in a literal sense, if your responsibilities span different countries, but more generally this means translating between the market, Sales, Marketing and Development as a minimum. 

You could add any other department in your company to that list; you’ll most likely need their help at some point.

As with foreign languages, you won’t get anywhere just by speaking MORE LOUDLY AND SLOWLY to convey your point.  Rather, you need to invest some time and effort into learning and comprehending the language of your audience.  The first step is therefore to listen.

You need to listen to how your customers talk about their industry, processes, problems and goals

You need to listen to how your customers talk about their industry, processes, problems and goals.  Remember how they describe things; this will become your vocabulary when you speak to them next.  Understand their priorities also.  Only then can you start to grasp why they need to perform a task in a particular way.

Once you become fluent in your audience’s language, both parties will exchange information more readily and find the experience more rewarding.  You’ll also find that your ability to influence is enhanced because you’ll have greater credibility with the audience.

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The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management book cover

The Practitioner’s Guide to Product Management
by Jock Busuttil

“I wish this book was published when I started out in product management”

Keji A., Head of Product

Read a free excerpt

Jock is a freelance head of product, author and conference speaker. He has spent nearly two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. His clients include the BBC, University of Cambridge, and the UK's Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS).In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, a product management consultancy and training company. He is also the author of the popular book The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management and the blog I Manage Products.

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