Choosing words

We have many conversations and create all kinds of documents each day. These both range from critical to the more casual but product managers and marketers need to be aware that others may not understand the context of each. We work in a profession that applies more weight to words than others do in general.

Causal conversations internally often are not completely casual as we drive ideas and work cross functionally. We are always learning about activity of influencers and execution of workflow. Yes there is a level of constant interviewing in most of our internal conversations.

When we have serious conversations we often expect the others to be understanding the level we are engaged at it is important to set that premise. This is a concept, this represents the direction chosen, speak now or forever hold your piece! “What if” and “How do we” are phrases I use often when talking about concept, then switching “to the plan is” or “this will be” when moving to agreed and active elements.

So there is the rub, the power of words and specificity in our culture is softening that many do not pick up on those contextual definers. How much do we have to define the moment in non-descript terms? Personally I love the power that words have and choose them in almost all situations often to the displeasure of my wife. When you use words with intent I believe it shows, often getting noticed. Those who fish with words only and have agendas that are not open don’t get that.

The downside is often when conversation slide to the soft or BS level Product folks will disengage. Again an extreme that does not serve. Set the premise of conversations, mail and documents You may find it a powerful habit!

Public words seem very Orwellian these days with attempts to change words. This to me is expensive and just wrong. How much does it cost to turn your name into a verb? The answer is you don’t! Like a tornado in Geoffrey Moore’s books it just happens and the best you can do is, be aware and ride it. Don’t work to change, work the change it is much more productive.

The classic case here is always Google being a verb. What did they do to support it? Simply put they kept it simple and still to this day you land on their page and they do one thing. You always start from a search and they collect on that promise every time you pass GO! Reinforcing that one thing they do. This never worked for Yahoo because they wanted to be a portal with a large offering. I just ask who is the portal to the internet Yahoo or Google. Simple works and always will.

TIm Bates