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Scott -- Great comments! I really like your suggestion of getting down to basics, uncluttering, and speaking as though talking to a layperson. As someone who internally groans whenever anyone uses jargon or a TLA (three-letter acronym), I applaud the sentiment and the approach! Thanks for sharing.

Scott Noppe-Brandon

Jonathan, thanks for highlighting the importance of communication in a culture of innovation. Of course, communication doesn’t only help us interact with others; it can also help us on a personal level. One example of this is a practice I call “untying your tongue.” Imagine that you’re bogged down in a big, long-term project. You’re so immersed in its details and jargon that you’ve lost any sense of perspective. In such a situation, try talking about the project to friends, coworkers, or family members (children are great for this) who know nothing about it. Drop all of your insider’s language and explain things clearly, simply, so that they understand. “But what’s the point?” you ask. Well, you’ll soon realize that in your attempt to reach out to others who lack your specialized knowledge, you’ve had to ignore your accumulated assumptions and get back to basics—-and now you can reapproach your project with an open, uncluttered mind. You’re free to imagine again. Indeed, communication with a layperson often releases us from restrictions on our thinking imposed by habit, by professional terminology, by all of the mental plaque that builds up in our working lives. Speaking plainly reminds us of what we’re really trying to accomplish. – Scott Noppe-Brandon, Executive Director, Lincoln Center Institute

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