Speak their language

Speak their language - language teacher in front of a class

We were in the middle of a transformation piece with a client and had several sessions and workshops for the implementation of some new ways of working. It was during one of them that I came to a profound realization. I was dazzled by how simple it was to make someone understand something somewhat complex and new. You just have to speak their language.

‘Why should we do that? We’ve tried it again, what would be different this time around?’ You can offer them all the rational, technical, detailed explanation in the world, but unless you view the world from their eyes, nothing will stick.

We are about 7.7 billion people in the world, speaking 6500 different languages. If you’re supporting any change initiative in today’s digital world, you’ll probably come across people speaking some programming language too, and there are hundreds of them. Most importantly though, we are all unique in our ways. Every organization has their own ways, and that is another form of ‘language.’ Spend some time understanding what that is and become one of them.


Think of all the times there was a misunderstanding at work. Could it be that you were too focussed on your own perspectives? Do you think you could do anything different?