Steps to Management Success – Step 3: Relearn the English Language

Written By Rick Frishman Published March 27th, 2010


Relearn the English Language

When you’re dealing with people in your industry or profession, there are certain buzzwords and jargon that everyone knows and understands, and there’s no problem in using them. This puts you on the same page as everyone else, and it even helps reinforce relationships between industry insiders. After a while, however, everyone gets tired of jargon and buzzwords. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an industry insider or not, there comes a point where you just get tired of it all and want to speak and be spoken to in plain, straightforward language.

WHAT IT MEANS: In business, you’ve always got to know whom you’re talking to, and then use the right level of industry jargon. Not too much . . . not too little. When speaking to industry outsiders, make sure you’re not talking over their heads. If you edit your written and spoken communications, you will have a better chance of establishing and maintaining a strong relationship.

ACTION PLAN: Use analogies or plain English translations. People often understand complex messages if they are wrapped in analogies; the more universal the analogy, the better. Relating a concept to a trip to the grocery store, the car dealership, or a lemonade stand may seem simplistic, but these are activities that everyone has experienced.

EVEN BETTER: Pay careful attention to nonverbal cues as they will give you clues on what’s difficult to grasp and requires more explanation. If your speech patterns are sprinkled with technical words without any corresponding explanation, chances are your listener’s eyes will eventually glaze over. Adjust the level of industry language that you are using, both to make it easier to understand and to prompt questions when necessary.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

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