Talk of the Trade

Last week, I was at a conference where I didn’t feel like I spoke the same language as everyone else. The conference was for appraisers and property assessors. They seem to use a lot of terms I’m not privy too. That got me thinking about how the terms we use are interlaced with who we are and what we do.

In college I interned with a heavy civil construction company and we spoke a different dialect there as well. I’m sure surveyors, product designers, and architects all speak in their own way.

What I wonder then is, how important is it that those you work with use the same lingo? The ideas can usually be communicated without specialized words with only a little extra effort. However, I think we use the lingo to assure ourselves of others’ competence. If you’ve put in your time to learn the lingo, you’ve probably learned the bulk of the meatier stuff as well.

We just have to be careful that we don’t exclude anyone with something to offer just because they don’t know the lingo. Sometimes people from without might have the freshest solutions. In our own little groups we tend to think the same way. A different mindset or skill set might be of greater value than we think.

  1. I agree that we should be open to others ideas even if they do not communicate them with the same language that we would. I do think that jargon has its place in removing ambiguity. Having well defined terminology can help to eliminate misunderstandings.

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