Using the right language

Knowing the jargon

When I moved into my life as an independent consultant these two lessons would reverberate in my head. When the Kmart name was on my business card I had an immediate credibility. Now I had to prove my credibility to each new person or company with whom I desired to work. Earning credibility hinged largely on speaking the same language.

This is no different to the person searching for a new career. Here are some proven techniques to ensure you are speaking the language of your audience:

1. Check out their website. Visiting the website of someone you’re about to meet is the simplest way to learn their terminology. Do they use "warehouses" or "distribution centers"? Do they ship in "Boxes" or "cartons"? Do they have "associates" or "team members"? It has the added benefit of teaching you more about them. For the salesperson this is an essential practice. As a consultant, I implemented a proposal template that requires me to revisit the website in order to complete my proposal process. Many people comment positively that I've taken the time to learn about their company.

2. Visit a trade web site for their industry. There is a trade site for virtually every industry, discipline, supply channel, and service. These Internet sites are written specifically for members in the trade sector. They are a valuable place for research as they will tell you the “hot topics” for that industry, all written in the industry's language.

3. Listen. When your audience is asking questions it is imperative you listen to the words they use. You will very quickly pick up on their terminology.

This is an excerpt from “Life’s Leadership Lessons” a collection of 53 anecdotal leadership lessons, each with an anecdote and the application of the topic in your everyday life. It is designed for use in weekly staff meetings or for personal development.