One of the biggest barriers to communication is language.
In every industry, in every department, in every office there is shorthand: acronyms, abbreviations, specific words/phrases invented with the idea of making communication easier and quicker, amongst those who ‘know’.
At its best it can be a time-saver, and lead to a feeling of belonging….. but in belonging, there is also excluding. And sometimes the use of industry specific language can exclude the very people you’d like to include.
‘My audience is in x industry, so they understand y’ – but we have found they rarely do. Do you remember what it was like on your first day in your current role – did you understand everything that was said?
Yet it can be difficult to realise when you are using industry specific, perhaps department specific language because it’s so second nature. So to make sure your talks are accessible to all, maybe consider this…..
We had a delegate recently who told us that she doesn’t want to exclude anyone in what she says – so she’s found a Darren – a neighbour who is a carpenter – someone who knows absolutely nothing about her business. When she has a talk or presentation to give – she gives it to him first. If he doesn’t understand something she says, she finds a different way of saying it so that he does.
She has made sure that no matter who is listening to her presentation, they will understand exactly what she wants to say, what her ‘message’ is. And it’s made a huge difference to her, her confidence and her conversions.
Clarity is key to leadership – in communicating your ideas, products or service.
We would recommend everyone finds a Darren – find someone outside your industry. Give them your talk, your presentation, your pitch and if they don’t understand – consider changing the language you use.