Do you pepper your professional conversations with business babble and techno-speak? We all tend to sling the lingo in our daily professional conversations with peers. We make some big assumptions, creating barriers to communication with the folks outside our peer circles. These barriers can impact the relevance, value and ROI of your professional conversations.
Let’s look at four scenarios where professional conversations create barriers, rather than bridges, to collaboration, communication and ROI.
Scenario One: You have virtual professional conversations with business teams and customers from across the globe. Your colleagues’ command of your native tongue (which may not be English) causes misinterpretation of what they are hearing, seeing and reading. It’s up to you to facilitate professional conversations so everyone is on the same page moving forward.
Since your colleagues and customers appear to be fluent in your language of choice, you assume they have equal understanding of the business case. Your misassumption lengthens the business development process.
Scenario Two: You are using scientific, medical and engineering terminology. There may – or may not – be universality to terms used in professional conversations across institutions and corporations. When working with a cross-functional team, slinging around terminology you hear in your workplace may shortchange the value of your professional conversations. Your colleagues and customers may not use these terms in the same context as you and your colleagues do.
Scenario Three: You have professional conversations where colleagues and customers doubt the validity of the data you presented. You assume a defensive posture, retreating into the terminology of your professional discipline. You did your homework, were prepared, and though you had all the right answers. On the defense, you start slinging around business babble or techno-speak to cloud the issue in mystery. You divide your customers and colleagues into two camps: those who understand you and those who don’t. You create a barrier to communication and collaboration.
Scenario Four: You are a newbie to the cross-functional business team. You are soaking in concepts and terminology like a business development sponge. You sling the lingo; you want to fit in and run with the pack. Your growing comfort level having these professional conversations may be premature. You think you sound “smart”; you may be using terminology incorrectly or inappropriately. Don’t assume that everyone sitting around the table is using these terms correctly, either.
Determining common denominator terminology is crucial to collaboration, communication and business development. This week, “listen” to yourself and your colleagues. Eliminate those barriers; increase your effectiveness and productivity.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo and business- and revenue-producing collaboration and communication tools to small and mid-sized businesses and startups.