This question is about the type of language you use when you’re talking with others. Understanding how the language we use affects others is a key in building rapport and trust.
Every industry that I’m involved with has it’s own language. This language is often referred to as jargon by those outside the industry. Unless someone is part of your group, it’s often best to adopt their language and leave yours behind.
This requires some investigation.
When you’re talking with someone it’s easy to use the language you’re comfortable with. The problem when you do this is that you’ll have a hard time developing rapport with the other person.
The reason this is true is that we tend to like and trust others who are like us. If you use different language when you’re talking with someone it’s hard to trust you. You’re not becoming intimate in the sense you’re making someone else feel uncomfortable or stupid. No one wants to be either one of those things!
It’s why specializing in a particular niche is a good thing.
If you spend lots of time in a particular niche you’ll eventually start speaking their language. An example I like to use is the term client or customer.
If you’re working with a professional service firm, it’s best to use the term client. If you’re in the vending business the people who spend money in your machines are customers and the people who sign the contracts are clients.
Knowing how simple words are used is part of the code. Understanding the niche and its communication subtleties will help you build rapport and trust.
Don’t assume others know what you’re talking about.
Never assume that your conversation is being heard that way it’s meant. The true meaning of communication is the way it’s received, not the way it’s sent. If the words you use are getting in the way, change the words you use. It’s really that simple.
Even simple words like customer or client can be getting in the way of you being heard. In my case when I use the word customer with my wealth management firm customers they never hear what comes after. They only think about why I could possibly refer to their clients as customers. They see that as an insult to who they service.
There really is specialized knowledge that takes time to learn.
I used to think that I could flit from industry to industry and understand what makes that business run. In certain respects I can do that. It also takes me a fair amount of time to even get a sense of what drives the businesses I work with.
On the other hand, when I spend time working with a firm in an industry I understand well, it’s easy for me to see the subtleties that exist. This took time for me to get there. It took time for me to really understand the subtleties of what they’re talking about.
If you listen intently, you can find the language you need to use.
There is a way to speed up your learning about a new industry. It’s why we have two ears and one mouth. If we listen intently we can pick up the subtle issues that we would miss if we’re arrogant and think we always know the answer.
The best we can do is asking great questions to help those we’re meeting with understand where they want to go. The cool thing about questions is they rarely get you in trouble and rarely show how ignorant you might be about the industry or company you’re working with.
What do you think? It it worth it to learn someone else’s language? Do you think it might help with building rapport?
We have a case study on the roles you play in your business. This might help you ask yourself a few questions to see if you’re doing the right things. I think building rapport with others often starts with yourself. Knowing what role your in is a good start.