Use Nice Words "Modify", "Elaborate", And "Complication" For Effective Communication
This post may seem like a joke at first, but it's actually not. There are a few words that, especially when you work as a software developer, just have some negative connotation associated with them and should be avoided, especially when you are the bearer of bad news... hehe.
I didn't come up with these words myself; I actually re-discovered them in this video by anne marie (please don't just me for watching a "works that make you seem smart video... Lol".
Jim's Key Takeaways
Although some of the words in her video are just a bit to bizarre to use casually at the office, Anne Marie makes a great points that there are some words that carry extra associated baggage with them, that scare people, or just subconsciously make people feel uncomfortable, and the whole point of her video is to tell you that you should be cognizant of the negative impact of using these words so that you can avoid using them and replace them with the nice, "smarter" words (especially when at work or dealing with clients *hint, hint*). Here are key top three words that I'm considering swapping out and what to use instead.
Ahh change, nobody likes change, do they? Well, there's a reason why that's a saying, and it's true. Being are comfortable with familiar things, and bringing up the word "change" stirs up people's imaginations to think of all kinds of potential bad things that could happen. Instead, go with the word "modify" to make it seem less aggressive. It also often implies a less drastic change, that you are just modifying something likely, rather than throwing the old version out the window and changing over to the new one.
"What?" -> "Can You Elaborate?"
Saying, "what?" or "huh?" when you don't understand something is the response of any normal pleb. We are sophisticated professionals (we are, right...?) so we should have a professional, intelligent response to deliver to the nice person with whom we are speaking. Even if you are conversing with someone saying what seems like complete nonsense and you think to yourself, "wtf is this mad person talking about?"- even then you can be a cordial, refined acquaintance and just respond, "Can you please elaborate?"
Ah yes, the granddaddy of bad words that a software engineer never wants to hear when referring to his or her code or software, and those is of course the words of your supervisor or product owner telling you there is "an issue", "a problem", or a "bug in the code". A yes, it can make even the best of cringe reminiscing of times when bugs were discovered in our software, and of course no one is perfect- it could happen to you! Welp, next time your untested code throws a, "can't read property blah of undefined" error and the whole server comes crashing down just tell old boss man that, "there's been a complication in the way our code is running". 😜
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