Today, let’s work on how your dependence on discipline-specific terminology creates storytelling barriers.
We all do it: you, me, your colleagues, even your clients. We love to use our professional jargon. After all, we spent years learning it. And now, all those big fancy words and acronyms – the hallmarks of our respective professions – just roll off our tongues.
Except, we just may be speaking the equivalent of a foreign language to our employees, colleagues, partners, stakeholders and clients. Because our storytelling word choices create communication and collaboration barriers.
Being fluent in discipline-specific terminology of your professional discipline leads us to a false assumption, or two. Or three.
- Our first assumption, is that the people we are speaking with actually understand what all of these words “mean.” Are you certain that everyone seated around the table speaks the same professional language that you do?
- Next, we assume that we understand what the professional jargon we sling around actually means. Because, in our own humble opinions, these words make us sound slick, trending and wicked smart. As a result, our conversations are jam-packed with discipline-specific words.
- Then, we fail to check-in with our audiences and/or the folks sitting at our business tables. Because we are so focused on our own professional eloquence. Consequently, we can marginalize, intimidate or exclude the very people who are the focus of our conversations.
When discipline-specific terminology in our stories creates barriers, people do not understand what we can do with, and for, each other.
Think about it. After all, the entire point of telling your story is to catalyze people to take action. Do something different. Fund your venture. Buy your products and services. Improve their performance. Sign off on your engineering design specifications. Find a budget for your marketing initiative. You get the picture.
Yet the most enduring and valuable stories are those which are simply told, so everyone around the table understands the significance of your words. To them, not to you.
How can you still use discipline-specific terminology, yet translate the relevance and value of these words into a learning and communication experience? Start by reviewing the three bullet points, above. Keep a professional scorecard on your own performance next week. See how well you do.
Then, consider taking the next, one millimeter step forward. And telling stories enjoyed and appreciated by all folks sitting around the business table. Regardless of job titles, pay grades, levels of education, generations and professional disciplines. Together.
Discover more about building bridges across people and professional disciplines. Create remarkable and enduring, innovative and client-focused outcomes. Click here to contact me. Let’s start deconstructing storytelling barriers. Together. One millimeter at a time.
My One Millimeter Mindset® Storytelling programs translate across communication disconnects between people and professional disciplines. Become more visible, relevant and valuable not only to your employer but also to your strategic partners and clients.
Find out more about my professional story here. I am a member of SME, ASQ, SHRM, ATD and the National Speakers Association. My playbook of communication tools and methods, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Contact me right here.
Image source: Getty images