Do You Use Bad Language At Work? • Derek Cheshire


An example of using innovation language

No, I am not referring to swearing or uttering profanities. Do you use language at work that is not appropriate in a way that is not understood by other people?

In a world where people of different cultures might come together and where people from different disciplines might need to collaborate it is perfectly possible that our colleagues might at best, misinterpret what we are saying, and at worst might not have a clue.

It is often said that communication has two parts, a message and a meaning. The message might be written in a common language such as English but the meaning could vary.

Let’s take the example of a group of people that have been recruited to form an Innovation function. Previously they have worked in engineering, research, operations, sales, marketing, finance and logistics. You want them to gel as a team and then create ideas for a new product or service and then deliver it.

But, they all start arguing when it comes to the basics. There seem to be many different ideas about the deliverables that you want from them. What exactly is a strategy, a plan, even a team? It may sound trivial but avoiding such mismatches of expectation and delivery can avoid a lot of heartache.

Many years ago I had the pleasure of listening to Ralph Ardill from the Brand Experience consultancy about a project that turned an empty brewery into a major tourist attraction for Guinness (The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin). He had to define a language for the project team that he brought together. We’ll never know if it would have worked if he had not, but the result is stunning. Follow the link to see for yourself.

So please, avoid ‘bad’ language if possible.

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