Yes we need to keep things simple and almost stupid indeed. As technocrats and professionals that are very proud of what we know and do, we are often caught up in our own grandeur. We speak and communicate to everyone as if we are communicating to our colleagues and fellow processionals. This is rather strange or maybe unwittingly deliberate given we work to serve others, we are supposed to demonstrate what we know to others in ways they could understand and embrace what we do.
So as an energy engineer, my vocation/ calling is to educate people about the energy resource, how to not waste it, how much of it we still have and for how long we are going to have that resource at our current rate of use/waste, often proposing means and ways to save and improve on the usage of the energy resource so I have to communicate effectively!
How do I communicate my work, how do I sell my service, how do I demonstrate value in what I do, how do I satisfy others of their benefits and value in engaging me?
As energy engineers, amongst ourselves terms and phrases such as energy intensity, Toe, kWh,cost reflective tariff, WtE, REFiT, LCOE, energy savings potential, heatpump, geothermal, IE4, etc are just a few of them that we drop around but what do they matter to others?
What do they really mean to the common person? How do they help motivate others to even look at the energy resource differently? So what if we recommend some EMOs to improve their EnPI? None of this means anything and even translates into a real tangible and sensible motivation for a call to action. So this is what we should instead be doing; unpack and keep simple what we do and how we wish for others to see value and willingly participate.
If people can’t understand what energy efficiency is and how it affects them, then simplify into the cost of doing business in kwacha terms. Illustrate erosion in their bottom line ( bottom what?), well in their profits! We need at a home/ household level to show how burning one light bulb needlessly robs that family of a good loaf of bread for a good breaking of their fast!
So the same should ring true for other professionals such as an example, economists with their fiscal, monetary, interest rate, inflation rate, GDP, GNP, BOP, FDI, IRR, CPI etc
What do these mean to a common man in the street and the cost of his meal, transport to work and affordability of medical care?
I believe if we really want to be valuable professionals or technocrats, we ought to start by learning to talk to others in very simple terms and thus engage them to participate and contribute without limitation!
By Chisakula Kaputu