Is lingo-slinging your personal communications strategy? All of us are guilty of slinging professional lingo, some more than others. If so, your communications may not be as effective, or impressive, as you think.
As a corporate newbie in various sales, marketing and research roles, I learned all sorts of really cool words. These terms related to whatever I was researching, selling, or the latest product I was developing. I threw them around like confetti. I figured the more I used these words, the more credible I became to my peers. After all, I wanted to fit in and run with the pack.
Everyone I worked with was slinging the same lingo as well. We were very cool, indeed. We were so cool that nobody outside of our department or discipline understood what we were saying. We were talking at them. There was no communications strategy at all. The folks in the other departments were just as guilty of slinging around their own professional lingo.
Cross-functional meetings became a contest of who could string together more technical or business terms than the other discipline. When your communications strategy is divisive, rather than inclusive, what’s the point?
You might as well be talking to yourselves. There’s no communications strategy at all.
If you are involved in working with folks outside of your professional discipline, it is critical to make sure everyone seated around the table understands what everyone else is saying. That’s not very easy. Especially for those of us who work exclusively, and daily, with peers.
We reinforce an exclusive communications strategy.
Have you ever listened to the news and started to correct the announcer’s description of a business or technical event? Yes, you were using the correct, “insider” lingo. Yes, that announcer was correct in making that lingo accessible, and understandable, to a diverse listener audience. That was their communications strategy.
Consider that not everyone speaks the same language, or was born in the same country. Nouns and verbs tend to fall in different places when we try to communicate with each other. Our communications strategy is to make ourselves understood. Now consider that every day, we are speaking professional language to colleagues and customers who weren’t born in the same country. They don’t speak the same native language that we do. They don’t process language the same way we do.
Except now the context of our discussion is technical or business language.
Your communications strategy is to make yourself understood, isn’t it? This week, afford the same level of patience and tolerance to your colleagues and customers who, in fact, were born in the same country that you were. They do speak the same native language that you do. They do process language the same way that you do.
Your personal communications strategy must extend to your technical and business discussions as well. In a sense, you are an ambassador of your professional discipline, to others. When your personal communications strategy focuses on getting everyone seated around the business table to “Aha!” you bring value to yourself, your company, your customers and your career.
Adapt this strategy to your throughput this week. Adopt a more patient and tolerant communications strategy with colleagues outside of your professional discipline. How will you apply your new personal communications strategy this week?
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers, LLC, traverses the sales-engineering interface®, bringing entrepreneurial mojo to small and mid-sized businesses in the manufacturing and service sectors. She builds vibrant revenue-producing business strategies for technical startups. She provides you and your colleagues with an arsenal of collaboration tools and communication skills required for today’s globally competitive marketplace.