Mindful communication – Using the language of your counterpart

Lately I had different occasions where I got in contact with creating & using a new terminology. These made me think about how mindfulness and communication play together when focusing on language and terminology.

Software rebranding: introduce a new terminology

One was the rebranding of a software I am working on. Almost everything is now called differently but everyone is still used to the old terms. What to do? Sticking to the old language as everybody knows what you’re talking of? A drawback would then be that the new terminology is “just” for the (potential) customers. Risking inconsistencies which will be introduced over time (I’d bet on that!) is another downside. And even worse: inconsistent language will confuse new people joining the team (and for sure new people will join).
So I try everyday to use the new words even if they are “not mine” (yet). I use them even if they sound strange. Even if it is harder. And there is one thing that really makes me happy: I see others also using the new terminology as far as possible, correcting themselves. All act a bit like beginners concerning the language.

Create a new software: understand the domain and put them in words

The other occasion was during a talk on Domain Driven Design at Herbstcampus by Henning Schwendter and Carola Lilienthal. It was about creating and evolving an ubiquitous language for the domain your are developing software for. One thing really sticked to my mind: the purpose of a glossary is not (just) having one, it’s the process of creating one. It is about using new terms, trying them out, discussing them, making them better & more suitable. It is all about communication! Something we all might know but yet forget too often to practice.

As a conclusion, I think concepts like the beginner’s mindset, focus and mindfulness in general can help us in everyday’s work even with tasks where one (at least me ;-)) does not see a relation or benefit at first sight.

What are your thoughts and experiences?