You and I rely on the specific linguistics of our professions for communication and collaboration. However, how comfortable, confident, conversant, and willing are you to translate your professional language for others outside your respective disciplines? Your career trajectory depends on how successfully you leverage your communications to lead others.
Let’s face it. Discipline-specific terminology is the hallmark of learning and your “becoming” that type of professional. There’s a bit of a thrill feeling lengthy, complicated, multisyllabic words rolling off the tongue and out into the room. Discipline-specific terminology makes you and I feel like we are part of a special club. As a result, you start relying on your professional language, not only to communicate to colleagues, but to reinforce that you are part of this elite club.
Yes, but are you selling yourself short by relying on your professional language?
However, just as your professional language distinguishes and differentiates you from other workplace colleagues, your word choices can separate and alienate them as well. Just as you rely on your own discipline-specific terminology to communicate, so do colleagues outside of your discipline.
With everyone relying on discipline-specific professional terminology each day, is there time devoted to translation of your word choices? Otherwise, people may hear what you say and think they understand what you mean. However, in reality, they can mis-translate relative to their own experiences working with other professionals like you. Also, certain word choices may have multiple syntaxes. Then, again, when the professionals sitting around the table represent multiple nationalities, there may be fertile ground for miscommunication.
Why not pause for the professional linguistic cause?
This week, try pausing during presentations to check for shared comprehension of those important points you make. Plus, encourage people (including yourself) to ask questions and request definition and translation of word choices. By rooting out potential ambiguity in word choices, everyone learns together. As a result, instead of understanding only one professional terminology, your team becomes multi-linguistic and translational: together.
Meet people where they are. Get to where you really need to go. Together. | One Millimeter Mindset | Professional Innovation | Cross Functional Leadership | Speaker, Consultant, Mentor |
How do you become more professionally visible, cross-functionally relevant, and strategically valuable to people who solve problems differently than you do? Babette Ten Haken’s One Millimeter Mindset ™ speaking, consulting, and mentoring programs catalyze people to collaborate more innovatively by moving one purpose-driven one millimeter beyond the mindset holding you back from moving forward. Create and implement more strategically agile, enduring, and rewarding outcomes. Babette’s 3 Core Questions, 4 Change Agreements, and 5 Professional Whys catalyze everyone to ask the questions that get everyone to where they really need to go, together.
Babette is a business-oriented STEM professional, qualitative Voice of the Customer facilitator, PMI-certified Wicked (Complex) Problem Solver, Duke Corporate Education licensed Strategic Agility practitioner, and Six Sigma Green Belt (Quality). She is a member of SHRM, PMI, and the National Speakers Association (NSA). All programs delivered virtually and/or in-person. Her playbook of cross-functional collaboration, Do YOU Mean Business? is available in digital format on Amazon.com.