I work with a bunch of people specializing in many things, most of them way more experienced than me. Even the managers at the company where I work are experienced tech professionals.

I often encounter this confusing situation at meetings where I wish to ensure that everyone understands what I am saying, because it is an important part of the deliberation. My managers and co-workers are not incompetent, rather they are 10x more competent than me, but since they usually would have worked with older technologies, it would be safe to say that they usually lack knowledge of the newer technologies(something that I work on). (For the people from tech industry, an example would be they have always worked with ASP .NET and I work on the MEAN stack). This becomes especially confusing when it is a mix of people in the room with some people having a little idea of what I am talking and some people have no idea at all

So my question is?

  1. Should I even try to explain it to them/ ask if they are following what I am trying to explain? This is usually important because decisions are taking collectively, with various people deciding on key areas of a project.
  2. Is there a way to do this without patronizing/mansplaning or offending your colleagues who are all more experienced than you?
  3. Should I just take a third approach where I later privately ask people later if they are following? This would be a safer choice as people would be more candid and open, but it is a logistical nightmare, especially with bigger meetings.

Any input is appreciated!

  • 1
    "Do you have any comments or clarifications on what I just mentioned?"... try asking that after you have given a significant portion of your explanation, to see if they are following through. Remember, be modest and also try to give examples/analogies with the technologies the other people are used to ("in contrary of ASP in MEAN you ....")
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 19:03

2 Answers 2


One thing I do quite often is say

I'm used to talking to people at varying levels of skill and knowledge, so if I'm putting things too simply, let me know, same thing if I get too technical, okay?

Say something to that effect so that rather than making anyone else feel uncomfortable, you put the onus on yourself. If you can do so with a self-effacing joke or two, all the better.


I don't think you have much to worry about. If they are really 10x more competent, they'll come to you if they need to or figure it out them selves.

You run the greater risk of irking them by assuming they don't understand something. That just invites challenges, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Another aspect might be your assumption that MEAN is somehow special or unique. Really, it's just another web stack, like LAMPs, MERN, LYME, ASP, RoR, etc. and they all do the same thing. Meaning, they get it. Tomato/Potato.

  • 1
    I get it. But it is not the same. Things are done in a certain way in different stacks, things that would affect the product, not saying positively or negatively, but things are different. Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 19:55
  • 1
    30+ years in the biz...they're not that different, at least not different enough to matter in 99.9% of cases, just syntax and patterns. I guarantee you, they're thinking there's nothing you're doing in MEAN they can't do in ASP, and they are 100% right. They're likely perfectly fine with what you're doing so long as it doesn't negatively affect the product. @NervousStudent
    – DTRT
    Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 20:04

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