Do you ever notice the language we use over lunch is different than when we are at our desk?
Taking someone out for lunch who is not affected by your project at all can prove to be the most impactful thing you do. This could be someone in your organisation, a willing friend, a family member, or a coach. Over lunch explain to them what your project is about. You’ll likely need to explain it multiple times. After each time, get them to tell you what they think the project is about.
Pay attention to the words you use and the words they hear. Often we use less jargon with people not connected with the project, then with people who are connected. We assume the jargon is understood in the same way (and often it is not). When talk with the unconnected person, we force ourselves to think about ‘how’ to communicate what we do. It is likely that we will switch from jargon to more stories and illustrations to talk about our subject.
Why should you care?
Often we assume others in our organisations, our teams, think and understand the same as we do. They don’t. Knowing how to clearly and succinctly communicate what change we are seeking is vital to any work we do. Figuring out how to communicate about our work in language that others understand it often critical for the success of a project. Figuring out how to do this over lunch is more fun and effective than over email. Food, different people, and a different space all gives us permission to think and behave differently.