Jargon and acronyms can be the scourge of effective communication.
Whilst one person is happy to synergise alignment in how to calculate LTV across a CRM before COP, their teammates are wasting time asking others what just happened or googling ‘COP’.
In this example, they’d have limited success.
(For those still playing along at home, the correct answer was ‘close of play’).
Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be jargon. The same communications inefficiencies can be created by persistent use of a word for which there’s no common definition in your team - e.g. ‘impact’, ‘quality’, or ‘deadline’.
You might already be thinking of some of your own examples as you read this.
Cutler suggests running a group session in which team members volunteer words which are commonly used in your team but which seem to cause confusion. He then suggests a group vote to narrow down the list to 10 of the most important words for discussion. For these, you then decide to do one of four things:
Agree on a definition (where the lack of a shared definition is harmful)
Agree to disagree on the definition…as long as everyone understand’s each other's definition.
Leave it alone if attempting to define it would compromise the spirit of the thing.
Agree to stop using it.
Give it a try. You’ll probably unearth a few misconceptions which are holding back communication on your team.