Monday, June 18, 2007

Acronyms are Better for Senders Than Receivers

Have you ever been in a meeting where a participant, conveying, or perhaps trying to "market", some business idea, excitedly tables a "cool" acronym that they have come up with?

Or how about meetings where the only thing more frequent that the use of acronyms is the question "Wait, before we go any further, what does THAT mean?

In The Neglected Receiver of Knowledge Sharing, which appeared in Ivy Business Journal March / April 2002, Nancy Dixon shares a very important but over looked notion of focusing on the receiver in knowledge sharing, not the sender.

One quote in particular stands out for me: "The sharing of ideas with others is one of the most profound and difficult things we do. We have only to look at our own missed understanding and misunderstandings that result from attempts to share our ideas."

No truer words have been said!

Acronyms are good efficient, short forms of communication in specific circumstances where a group of people share the same contexts and background, and where the acronym use has been well communicated and socialized. But in generally, they block or slow down communication, in particular when people stop asking for definitions in the interest of moving a meeting or conversation forward.

Want to improve knowledge sharing - stop depending on acronyms.

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