One of the most impressive and surprising things I learned during my last couple of years at Staffbase was how important it is to choose the right words when communicating.
In the beginning when we where a really small company, everyone just had the same information and shared the same background. Communication was easy. Everyone always knew what the other person wanted to say or achieve.
Then we started growing. We hired more people. Those people were different (in a very good way). Not only did they have different cultural backgrounds, but they also had no trivia knowledge about Staffbase. So misunderstandings started to happen. At first, this surprised me because I didn’t change the way I communicated. What I didn’t realize was that my surroundings had changed a lot and kept changing at high speed.
The Demo Session
A great example of how effective choosing the right words can be is our “Demo Session” or how we now call it: “The Release Party”.
The idea behind this event is a quarterly voluntarily all-hands meeting where all our Scrum team’s product owners show what they achieved in the last quarter.
We started doing this and called it a “Demo session”. It ended up being a boring and a bit strange reporting presentation. There were slides with every detail that the team did. No focus on the really big wins. The great achievements were buried under a huge pile of “fixed this bug, fixed that issue” reporting.
But something quite amazing happened when we restarted the event under a new name: “The Release Party 🎉”. All of a sudden, it was fun to go there. The POs focussed on the big things they did. They shared what they were proud of and that was exactly what this event was meant for.
It was such an easy change but had a huge impact on the overall perception of what was expected in this event.
Choosing the correct words is a superpower
The easy change from above for me showed me how powerful it can be to spend time thinking about the name for that thing that you are try to do.
I believe that those engineers that stay in their ignorant “I have more important things to do than to chose my words wisely” zone are missing out on an opportunity to get the results they expect and want from others.
And btw. I would never say that I’m, perfect at this. But at least can say that I’m aware of the fact that it makes a difference how I phrase things.