Collaboration DNA: A Choice of Words (Ch.5)

When we collaborate, words are not only the currency of the ideas we share, they also form boundaries of what we’re able to learn and know.  

Words literally define our possibilities.

Regardless of our education or level of expertise, most of us are guilty of being careless with our semantics.  We speak without thinking, letting our scattered, ill-defined notions fall where they may. Ludwig Wittgenstein once called it the most fundamental problem in the great, century-old debates of philosophy and science.

As outlined in Chapter 5 of The DNA of Collaboration, failure to take care in choosing and defining our words can spell disaster for collaborative efforts.  Let’s unpack the topic by reflecting on five of the main ideas covered in this chapter.  Relevant authors noted.

  • Q1. To what extent are learning & knowledge constrained by the vocabulary and semantic choices of collaborators? #bohm #senge
  • Q2. What happens when we fail to choose our words carefully? #wittgenstein
  • Q3. Does rich & colorful language help us or hurt us when collaborating? When is semantic precision a better choice? #lakoff
  • Q4. “When we define common terms we create common ground” Have you used solution language in practice to build buy-in?
  • Q5. Like an iceberg, many of the implications of our words hide beneath the surface of what’s actually said. Is this to our advantage?

This will be the 2nd edition of our Virtual Book Tour.  I hope you can join us Saturday, 8/11, at 11 a.m. EDT.  If it’s anything like last week’s chat there will be a great exchange.  You’ll find our agenda for future sessions and transcripts from prior sessions at http://bit.ly/cdnaVBT

Thanks for your interest in the book, the topic, and the conversation.  I hope to see you there!

- Chris Jones aka @sourcepov, author The DNA of Collaboration

About Chris Jones

Tech consultant. Blogger. Author. Social instigator. Passionate about learning in the workplace and the classroom. Founder of #smchat, #ecosys and #cdna online communities. View all posts by Chris Jones

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