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Had a few ineffective meetings in preparation for this post as I'm sure you have as well.  One of the most memorable was one that lasted over an hour and at best, left most of us confused.  We branded it the "lipstick on a pig" meeting. Instead of galvanizing our team efforts it eroded faith in our leadership. It was a huge missed opportunity which we rarely had.  There were many other ineffective words/phrases used as well.  Every word spoken might as well have been in a different language.  Sort of like this...

“Business is business.”
“Rules are rules.”
“A deal’s a deal.”
“When we go in there, as long as we know what’s what and who’s who, whatever happens, happens, and it is what it is.”
-Jerry Seinfeld

Huh? 😕


Jargon can be very useful to convey common things inside industries, departments, communities and families. It’s the intention that’s the key.  Are we trying to sound smart OR are we using our communication to connect with others?

Here's an example straight from Alan Alda in a video about good communication. Can you make sense out of this?

“Take this gobo and put it on the Century over there, and hurry up because this is the martini shot...and while you’re at it  bring me a half apple.”

If you're as confused as me, do you stand a chance to put it in plain language so more people actually understand?  Unless you're in this industry you likely won't have a clue how to decipher this message.  So we all can move on, here's the explanation...

  • A gobo is a thing that blocks out light.
  • A Century is a Century stand made by the Century Company many decades ago, and their name is on the stand.
  • It's the stand that holds up a light or a gobo.
  • The martini shot is the last shot of the day before you go home and have a martini.
  • And a half-apple is a box half the size of an apple-box that you can put things on, like people who are too short.

There you have set jargon.

Jargon can help bring people together OR it can create distance between people.  What we really should strive for is to get in sync with each other.

The REAL Reasons to Meet

  • Influence
    • Not persuasion
  • Help with Decisions
    • Leverage collective intelligence
  • Problem Solve
    • Framing as opportunity
  • Strengthen Relationships
    • Everybody matters

Are these in your intentions to meet?  If not, discover your actual purpose. Once you're solid on it, check out the Cicero Public Speaking Deck to help hone your public speaking & communication skills.

No matter the member of the team, communication is one of, if not the primary concern.  Our individual styles vary as much as our personalities, gifts, talents & passions.  When we choose to communicate with too much industry jargon it takes away our ability to be authentic.  And when we're not ourselves it's hard to create the necessary understanding to display our trustworthiness.  Lack of trust equals leading through positional authority.  There's little connection with employees, no inspiration, no engagement and no growth.  We end up with a collection of workers instead of a collaborative team.

If you're using the power of your words to influence and not persuade, have others help with decisions to leverage collective intelligence, problem solve to frame opportunities or strengthen relationships to signal everybody matters...then get together. Have that meeting and communicate with collaborative intention instead of non-versation.

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This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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