Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Knowing Its A Rose By Any Other Name Doesn't Make You A Horticulturist

Businesspundit: Management by Semantics

Businesspundit had an interesting post that is applicable both the my recent posting on tagging or labeling and to business communication. It also mentions Richard Feynman, who is one of my favorite people.

Richard Feynman's father told him an interesting story about words and meanings:
See that bird? It's a brown-throated thrush, but in Germany it's called a halzenfugel, and in Chinese they call it a chung ling and even if you know all those names for it, you still know nothing about the bird. You only know something about people; what they call the bird.

In Rob's perspective the problem with many in business today is that,
"They know business ideas in the sense that they know what they are called, and what their definitions are, but they really don't understand them. They can't explain them or apply them. "

"Thinking that you know and understand something when you really only know what it is called is exactly the type of thing that gets incompetent people promoted. And it's probably more dangerous than not knowing the terminology in the first place."

Language has been another topic of interest for this weblog. This post brings its proper application a bit closer to the street and everyday use. Its hard enough to communicate when your face to face with someone and have that other 80% of communication through body and eyes to fall back on, but when your communicating across continents and cultures the challenge is even greater. There is still that danger of getting sucked in by those who sound or look like experts but are all veneer and no substance. On the other hand, if you do manage to develop some substance then how do you make sure it gets through all the other flash on the web?

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