Ever consider that the professional terminology you use can get in your way, professionally?
Over the course of your career, the words you use to communicate with professional peers creates your future habits. You have a signature set of behaviors and mannerisms which lead you to make assumptions: about others.
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First, you assume that every professional peer understands your professional terminology.
The first assumption you make is that everyone in the room understands the meaning of each word you use, when communicating with them. You assume that when you are speaking with colleagues from the same professional discipline as yours, that they, too, communicate in the same manner that you do. Are you sure?
Then, you assume that colleagues outside of your professional discipline understand your professional terminology.
Do you assume that colleagues, if they do not ask you to clarify, in fact do understand what you are saying. On the other hand, perhaps your behavior and mannerisms intimidate them. Consequently, they do not want to admit they do not understand what you are saying. Thus, it is up to you to check whether you are being understood. Otherwise, your brilliant message may be completely misunderstood or not understood, at all.
Also, you assume that colleagues understand the professional terminology involved in the acronyms you use.
How frequently is the professional terminology that you rely on laced with discipline-specific acronyms? Do you assume everyone in the room understands what these acronyms stand for? Consider that the same acronym often has multiple, discipline-specific, context-specific meanings. Consequently, professional colleagues may translate an acronym relative to their own professional context, instead of yours. Or, colleagues may dismiss an acronym because they are unsure what it stands for.
Professional terminology gets in the way not only of communicating, but also collaborating.
When colleagues do not understand what you are saying – in its entirety – they do not understand the full implications of what you can do with them. And for them. As a result, the most important person in the room is not the individual making the presentation. The most important person in the room is the individual who does not understand. Because that individual, and their strategic initiatives, may hold the key to your professional trajectory.
Today, pay attention to whether, or not your use of professional terminology gets in your own way, professionally. And observe whether your colleagues are having the same issue.
Then, take the next steps towards bridging the cross-discipline, cross-educational communications abyss.
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Babette Ten Haken‘s One Millimeter Mindset™ speaking programs and workshops are created for organizations and associations who want to catalyze stakeholder success and customer retention. There is no better way than storytelling to bridge communication disconnects between professional disciplines, pay grades and levels of education. Her programs are forged from her own background as a STEM professional in clinical research, new product development, market research and sales. Find out more right here. Babette is a member of ASQ, SHRM, PMI, and the National Speakers Association. Her playbook of communication hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Contact her here. Image source: Adobe Stock.