ABZ’s of Communication for PM’s and Techies… I: Information, Idioms, Introductions

Good projects begin with good communication!

I= Information, Idioms, Introductions


The two words “information” and “communication” are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through. —Sydney J. Harris

InformationAn interesting perspective!  Often we give out information and assume that this is the same as communicating and when there is misinterpretation we find out the opposite.  Technical professionals analyze data and turn them into information.

Information implies a level of value added to the data interpretation – but value is a subjective assessment based on the receiver’s perspective.  We succeed with communication when value of the information sent is perceived as having at least as much (or more) value by the receiver.  Strive to communicate and not to simply dispense information!


England and America are two countries separated by a common language.
–George Bernard Shaw

Idioms are the perfect illustration of this division!  While every language has idioms (phrases that mean something different from the literal translation) – English has country specific idioms.  Take, for example, the American idiom: “He hit it out of the ballpark” – the meaning will be lost on non-North American English speakers.  Expert communicators know that idioms come naturally to native speakers in one country but do not readily translate to another country. This holds true even if the audience is full of native English speakers!  One illustration of idiom usage is the movie Crocodile Dundee where a native Australian travels to New York and encounters New York and US culture – idioms and all.

In today’s globally diverse workplace, professionals who care about communication always “bone-up” on their idioms (and explanations) so that their audiences stay engaged and feel respected.

For further interesting reading, visit:  Ten Funniest English Language Sayings and their Meanings (http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Amy_Nutthttp://ezinearticles.com/?The-10-Funniest-English-Language-Sayings-and-Their-Meanings&id=944466


This is one of the most puzzling and etiquette laden corporate practices that seems to be lacking these days!  More often than not, I’m finding that people don’t know how to introduce people to each other, don’t know how to properly introduce speakers, and lack tact and diplomacy when they attempt to do so without training or practice!  When introducing two people you know to each other, be aware that there may be cultural practices different from your own (particularly when dealing with international visitors).  If you can’t remember someone’s name, it is far more courteous and respectful to ask the person’s name again (with a sincere apology) and then go ahead with the introduction than it is to avoid the introduction at all.  Leaving a friend or colleague excluded while you engage in conversation (because you cannot remember the person you are talking to’s name!) is just plain rude to both parties and renders you uncouth.

If you are introducing a speaker, it is critical that you know how to pronounce their name (ahead of time – and practice the correct pronunciation!) and their topic.  It is okay to ask someone how to pronounce their name and also how they would like to be introduced before you go on stage.  Dale Carnegie once remarked that the sweetest sound to people is the sound of their own name –take the time to learn to do good introductions and pronounce names properly.  As you ascend your career ranks, you will be expected to deliver polished introductions – both onstage and in person – so take the preparatory steps to make your professional.

To your successful projects!


Carol Dekkers
email: dekkers@qualityplustech.com

For more information on northernSCOPE(TM) visit www.fisma.fi (in English pages) and for upcoming training in Tampa, Copenhagen, Dusseldorf, Helsinki and other locations in 2010, visit www.qualityplustech.com.
=======Copyright 2010, Carol Dekkers ALL RIGHTS RESERVED =======


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