We call our communications the wrong things

18th October 2022

We all know how dreadful some meetings can be.

But the name itself – “meeting” – doesn’t help. After all, that name suggests that its sole purpose is for us to meet.

But it isn’t.

Instead, the reason for a meeting is to cause something to happen after it – decisions to be made, actions to be agreed, etc.

I wonder if meetings would be better if they were called “causings”?

There are lots of similarly unhelpful titles in communication:

  1. Sales – this word is from the seller’s point of view. So, it suggests that it is a thing they are doing to us. But selling is much more two-way than that. A better name would be “agreement to help”
  2. Proposals – this suggests that we are proposing something to a customer. And, just like a marriage proposal, that means they can reply yes/no/don’t know/not yet etc. A better title might be “confirmation”
  3. Review – our lives are full of reviews – weekly reviews, quarterly business reviews, annual staff reviews, client reviews…but the word “review” often leads us to focusing too much on the past – reviewing last period’s performance etc. In my company, we have “previews”, where the main focus is what we want to happen next year – to help us achieve more, love our jobs more, have an even better work-life balance, etc
  4. Objections – salespeople use this word a lot. But the word “objection” leads some salespeople to think they are objectionable! But they aren’t. It’s perfectly valid for customers to have concerns before they part with their money. And if they’re concerned about something, that makes it our concern too. Maybe we should call them “joint concerns”
  5. Tuesday Tips – if I thought I was just sending you a tip, I’d write them differently. That’s why I see them as “Tuesday-advice/action-suggesting-things-to-help-my-lovely-readers”

You’ll be able to think of lots more examples (in fact, I’d love you to share them with me).

But how does this unhelpful naming affect our comms?

Well, these Unhelpful Names might lead some of us to forget the purpose of our comms. And so…

… since this is a Tuesday-advice/action-suggesting-thing-to-help-my-lovely-readers, here’s my…

… Action Point

For all your different types of comms, make sure you focus on the right thing when you communicate it, rather than the thing which its Unhelpful Name suggests.

For example, your next meeting today: what are you hoping to cause as a result of it?

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