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  • Writer's pictureJudith Ostronic

Common Language

My British born husband and I like to joke that we're two people separated by a common language. It's a modified quote most often attributed to Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, sometimes to Winston Churchill, but it most likely comes from Oscar Wilde, who wrote, "We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language."


It can be funny to joke about our differences in language, but we once had a conversation I thought was focused on career paths, while he thought we were talking about rugby. It's good to clarify every so often.


Communication is hard enough without actual language barriers. I suspect those of you who are parents of teens or tweens might agree? Language and meaning can get as distorted across generations as it can across continents. Do kids say awesome anymore, or is that considered too basic?


Communicating in a professional environment can also be tough to navigate when so often it's in a team setting, or electronically over Slack, email or Zoom.


Let me be clear about what I'm asking: When communicating what you need or want, how do you know you're understood? What response are you looking for, and how do you measure that response?  How do you know it's time to rethink or revise your approach?


As your coach, my role is to listen closely, paying attention to the words you use and how you use them. Whether talking about your current situation, or the situation you're envisioning for your future, I'll make sure I understand what you're trying to say, no matter how you say it. I can also be a sounding board for what you want to say to someone else. 


Communicating is really no different from any other skill. It only gets better with practice. And the more the more you practice, the better you get. Just sayin'.

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