the weight of words
Do we notice the words we choose to use when speaking?
Are we aware of the extent of our vocabulary? And how often we use the width of it?
Do we use words that we are accustomed to using, yet do not really know the definition?
Or do we believe we know the definition. Only to find ourselves confusing others or being corrected?
The definitions of words has evolved so drastically. Most people have a strong sense of what words mean to them, more than their actual definition. We adopt them naturally without questioning, their application or intent. Or even seeking the neutrally recorded definition.
Early in my career within Wholesale, I was quick to learn that the same word could get me into a bit of trouble between States. A Client and I would be talking about two different things. Or would we? Maybe it was exactly the same thing, which went by a different name? Same, Same. But different.
I remember saying that about the United States in comparison to Australia. While it is so very much the same. There are so many differences. Your mind cannot help but understand you are not at home. Words included. It was boggling how many variances I encounter with the United States English and Australian English, Canadian English, British English and English as a second language. The one differing factor being, perspective.
My first trip to the United States highlighted to me just how much the English Language alters. Depending on the culture, history or application of a word. Try saying "jumper" in the US. No one understood what I was saying. Until I realised it's "sweater", I was never get something warm to pull over my head. If I was looking for "petrol", I was only going to find gas. Probably running out of petrol in its pursuit, laughs. And goodness, don't take out the "rubbish" it wont go anywhere unless it's "trash". Oh and if I pulled into a "car park", I was mistaken. it’s a "parking lot". These alternative words are second nature to me now. But having to remember to say them. Use them. Get my tongue around them in the right situation. Well that took some doing.
My definition and understanding of so many words has evolved and expanded throughout my life. It has been an interesting exercise to redefine something that I thought already knew. In doing so, I opened up possibilities. That were already present. Simply unseen. Had I only considered them with a different perspective.
I understand that the extent of my vocabulary is only as large, as my correct application of the words within it. I learnt that depending on my choice of words, the very same sentence altered drastically. And could be interpreted by another person in a completely different capacity than I intended it. Recognising the exact weight of each word I choose to use.
From this, I became passionate about the idea, to redefine the limited and accepted definition of words. To illuminate their historical, evolved meaning. How they can be better applied. The impact they have in their generalised use throughout Business and Society. Allowing us to decipher for ourselves, with clarity what we would like for them to mean and how we wish to communicate them.
Consider the words you use to describe your Business. The language you use in Content and Marketing. The choice of words and sentence structure you invest in throughout your Organisation. From Managers to Teams. From Team Member to Team Member. From Company to Client or Customer.
Think about how even the titles you use and their definition. How they further contribute to the Role in question. How the Role is implemented. How a person communicates within the Role. How others perceive the Role. The connotations and expectation connected to those certain titles.
Contemplate the resistance or disconnection words and titles create, without intention. Simply by being utilised we have unintentionally designed pieces of our Companies. We haven't considered the implications, as we are following a predetermined Model.
Think about the change in a person when they are promoted and a title change is involved. Think about how they redefine themselves within the Organisation. Think about what changes when they step into this Role. In turn, reflect on the new altered perception the Team has of that very same person. Same, same. But different.
How intentional is your Business Language? And what discord could you potentially be creating without considering the implications of its definitions?
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