Your success is directly tied to how effectively you communicate with others. Talking in shorthand is helpful, but only to the extent that both parties understand the jargon, acronyms, or phrases.
When our daughter, Alex, turned 13 years old, my wife, Jamie, and I bought her a cell phone. Getting the phone was a big deal for us, and we didn’t take it lightly. When we felt Alex was ready, we made the purchase.
The phone came with several rules for Alex to follow. Alex saw the phone as a privilege and proved to be a responsible owner. Sure, she may have forgotten to charge the battery a couple of times or occasionally pulled it out at the dinner table, but these are common missteps that every new phone user (and not-so-new user) makes, and she fixed the lapse without fail.
The most memorable moment we encountered with her new phone came in a text exchange between Alex and her mom, Jamie.
Here’s how it went:
Jamie: What time will you be home after school?
Jamie: What does that mean?
Alex: I don’t know
Jamie: If you don’t know what ‘IDK’ means, young lady, you shouldn’t be using it!
Their exchange that day has given us plenty of laughs, but the moment’s lesson runs much deeper than a chuckle.
The dialogue between Jamie and Alex reveals a common trap many of us fall into when we assume that people understand what we are saying.
Words have meaning.
Talking in shorthand is helpful, but only to the extent that both parties understand the jargon, acronyms, or phrases. This week’s tool and video will help you to explore the shorthand you use and ask you to consider if your message recipients – employees, customers, or partners – genuinely understand what you are saying. As you fill out the tool, consider the gaps in your communication and identify what you can do to fill them.
Speaking of gaps, this week’s Leadership Lab podcast interview features Kaylin Marcotte, the founder of Jiggy Puzzles. Kaylin discusses the importance of paying attention to trends, auditing your habits and practices, and finding a gap in the market that you can close. Kaylin appeared on the television show Shark Tank to discuss her company and secured Mark Cuban as a business partner to help close the market gap that she identified.
- What jargon, acronyms, or phrases do you often use?
- How well do your team members, customers, and partners understand the jargon, acronyms, or phrases you use?
- How can you more clearly communicate with team members, customers, and partners?
Ask the newest member of your team to share 2-3 examples of jargon, acronyms, or phrases used on your team that the new person was unfamiliar with when joining the organization or are still unclear about now.
Patrick Leddin, PhD is a speaker, global leadership consultant, and The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. Patrick is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University with a thriving leadership blog and podcast, and 25-years of leadership experience. He offers an unparalleled mix of academic rigor and real-world experience.