I work with young designers, engineers, social workers, architects. I am extremely lucky in that. I am working with visions and dreams. I am happy I have left training bankers behind.
Each group has their own jargon. The common denominator: language that is too complex, too stilted, too academic, too abstract. A language that makes their visions fade to grey, no matter how stylish their slides may be.
They talk about the components of a relationship, instead of feelings. Their sentences run on and on, until not even the sentences can remember where they were going in the first place. They add noun phrase to noun phrase until all activity and hope is lost.
With all the buzz about new technology and techniques (and believe me, I am an early adopter), I currently feel that the old technologies are in danger of losing out a little.
Presenting means talking to people.
We need language that is humane. Not only target-oriented talks.
Yesterday I was working with a young woman who I know to be energetic and funny and involved. She was talking about children and why she loves to work with them. When we watched the tape together, she said: That’s terrible. I sound as if I am going to a job interview. And just look at my hands!
Would you have hired yourself?, I asked, and she said no.
We then started working. On nothing but her words. An hour later she was happy with herself, and was herself again. As soon as she let go of abstract language, and talked to me, her body relaxed and she unclasped her hands. Two in one.
Abstract language is good for hiding behind. And keeping things to yourself. Knowledge and emotions included.
Which is maybe why so many professions cultivate it to perfection.