Take a moment and write down what you think I mean when I mention the word ‘Quality’.
Go on, get a pen and write down your definition of the word.
Now do the same for the words ‘Customer satisfaction’.
Done it? Good.
Now ask yourself how other members of your team would define the words. Would there be a correlation or would there be distinct differences?
When we communicate with others, we often think that because we know what we are talking about, everyone else will too. But it may be possible that others have a different understanding of the meaning of what you said. If we can’t clearly define and agree upon the meaning of terms we use in our particular business, our communications become very fuzzy, as our expressions are mistranslated in their minds to mean something else.
So, how can you make sure every understands everyone else in the business (or at least has a good shot at it?) Here are some ways:
1) Carry out an exercise with your team where you mention some buzzwords you often use in your company or industry and get people to write down their understanding of them. Compare if you really are close in your interpretation of the meanings
2) Decide on a group definition of the buzzwords that every team member can buy into. This ensures consistency.
3) Have team members give ideas on how the meanings can be displayed so everyone is in agreement and singing the same song in harmony
4) Decide what the meanings of these terms mean to us as a business and how we can utilise this agreement with prospects and clients alike
5) Determine how you will measure the effectiveness of everyone who matters knowing the definitions, the application of the definitions and what the end results will be.
This exercise will ensure your team is coherent and in-line with each other when it comes to understanding what everyone means in relation to buzzwords. It will then make sense to everyone and you reduce the risk of misinterpretation of ideas and the incidents of misunderstandings should go down.
Originally published: 4 March, 2011
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