- You do know what #$@!% means, don’t you?
- W… Well, of course, I do!
- Then you must understand that #$@!% is THE most critical aspect in our project, and that’s what we’re hiring you for!
You don’t really know what they meant, and they don’t know you don’t know… Well at least not for the next few minutes…
It could be in a job interview, or in a technical meeting, or even when YOU are the buyer (happened to me this morning! See story below....)
Experts tend to develop internal jargon and sometimes forget that other people, knowledgeable as they are, might not share that exact same lingo.
The problem is that we sometimes use Jargon as means of “testing” the other person, even subconsciously, and if they don’t pass the test, we might not trust them.
That’s why it's hard to admit, in some situations, that you don’t know what they mean. And in a situation like the above, it could well mean the end of the relationship, and that’s a lose-lose.
Because here is the thing:
Maybe you do know, perfectly well, what they are talking about- you could have been doing it for years, but they call it differently than you? or pronounce the acronym in a different way **
And even if you don’t know- it’s fine.
Maybe you bring a different set of expertise to the table?
We don’t know it all, and we can’t do it all.
If we did, we wouldn’t be working in teams.
When you interact with another person, tweak carefully the amount of jargon you use. You might be facing a brilliant professional, who might be nervous or wants to impress. Don’t fail them on the “Jargon mumbling” test!
Communicate clearly, and encourage the other person to feel comfortable enough to ask questions.
If you both know the acronym, great! Go on with your geek party…
But don’t miss out on the opportunity to meet geeks who use different acronyms than you.
Intelligent people are the ones that know how to ask questions, and it doesn’t matter the topic- If I would have to memorize just one acronym, it would be ASK.
Practice with your children or nephews- explain to them the most complex situations you had at work today, in a way they understand.
Not only will you get another chance for reflection, but you might suddenly realize that your 8-years old daughter helped you troubleshoot your UF/DF issues today…
You do know what UF/DF means, don’t you?
Fun question, who knows how they pronounce FHIR, as in HL7-FHIR?
People in Drug Development are really smart.
They must be- it’s a knowledge-intensive industry with crazy specific niches of expertise.
That’s why it's sometimes hard to admit you are missing one or another basic piece of the puzzle. No matter if you are just starting out, or you are a seasoned professional- it is good to stop from time to time and look at the big picture!
Join me in this 4-part FREE crash course covering the big picture of Drug Development and CMC.
Extra story from today:
I had a big remodel to my office lately. This involved interactions with several technical service providers.
Maybe it's me, but they ALL kept throwing jargon at me, as if I was supposed to know.
“What do you mean you don’t have #$@!% in your wiring?! This means I need the special thingy, and that’ll cost you twice as much!”
In this situation, I literally had NOTHING to worry about not knowing- I was the buyer, but it still made me feel uncomfortable because to him it seemed so obvious, so maybe I should know?
I had to admit that I am clueless and insisted to understand the issue. As he (reluctantly) explained while packing his stuff, we suddenly realized that we DO have #$@!% in the building, but I never ever used that word in my life, let alone was aware that #$@!% was a thing…. had I not insisted on understanding, he might not have insisted on explaining, and would have assumed we simply don't have #$@!% and walked away from the deal... lose lose.