We often think that everybody knows what we are talking about, as in the terms we use. We don’t. I did a very simple presentation 30 years ago at a large US corporation (at the time I was part of a UK based subsidiary. I was trying to demonstrate that confusion was rife on how the UK and the US communicated. Was it George Washington that suggested that “we are two countries divided by a common language.” ?
If two countries who speak the same language can’t even agree what to call something – confusion will reign and EXTRA care should be taken in communication between the US and the UK. (This is an important lesson – most people if they heard French or German spoken will make an effort to understand what is being said. But when you hear your own language – you assume you understand. You don’t. In fact it is even worse – since an American will go out of their way to apply local names and pronunciation when in a foreign country – EXCEPT the UK _ whereas American pronunciation is routinely applied to cities like Edinburgh (not <Edinborough, Edinboro or Edinbrough) and counties like Worcestershire 🙂
Anyway – back to the presentation, where I raised mini issues such as ….
- a trunk, (of a car, a tree and an elephant)
- a boot, (of a car and as something to cover the foot)
- a bonnet, (of a car and as something to cover the head)
- a hood, (again of a car and as something to cover the head)
The net net is that a ‘car boot’ in the UK is a very different thing to the US – and of course we in the UK we truly believe our cars are feminine – since the engine is protected with a bonnet – whereas in the US it is protected my a ‘manly ‘hood”.
And so – to my point ….. if we can’t even agree on what words mean – then all hell breaks loose as we connect those words to make phrases and sentences.
Take Social Selling.
I recently contacted someone about working with them to enable Social Selling in their enterprise and unleash the latent power of their networks yada yada. I got a reply saying that they would love to learn more – but “what is social selling” ?
Lesson learned – because this person works in a company that on its website espouses all the aspects that I believe to be part of ‘social selling’ – that’s why I wanted to connect – but when I looked again at the site – no reference to that term.
Social Media Today defines the term thus
Social selling is a new way to approach a sales process that allows you to stay relevant with your prospect when you would normally go dark during off periods of non-communication. Social selling allows you to stay connected with your prospects and build a relationship with them that goes beyond a vendor toward a trusted advisor.