When I was 18, I watched the movie, Reality Bites, about a group of recent college grads (the so-called Generation X) trying to establish a foothold in the world. Winona Ryder played the main character, Lelaina. At a job interview, her potential boss challenges her to define irony. And she can’t.
Later in the movie, she challenges her slacker boyfriend, played by Ethan Hawke, to define irony. Without missing a beat, he says, “It’s when the actual meaning is the complete opposite from the literal meaning.”
We throw around the terms design, process, strategy, leadership and content. If someone asked you to define one of those terms right now, could you?
Create Commonality through Language
Effective communication starts with defining words that are loaded. Your boss might be saying strategy, but may really mean a process. Your colleagues may call for a meeting, but what they really want to do is brainstorm. Defining terms toward commonality builds relationships and trust.
Here are some common words we use in digital marketing and how you might want to define them:
- Design: Solving a problem within a certain set of limitations
- Process: A series of steps we use to get something done
- Methodology: A repeatable process that produces the same results each time
- Strategy: A plan for how to get from point A to point B
- Content: Information, packaged in a format, distributed through channels
- Meeting: A place to share ideas, set a plan of action and assign tasks to individuals
- Brainstorm: To share and discuss ideas freely without judgement
- Leadership: The act of inspiring vision, making decisions and getting results
What do you think? Do you disagree with any of the above definitions? I’d love to hear from you.