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5 Ways to Learn Jargon, And Fast

5 Ways to Learn Jargon, And Fast

Dictionary

    Early on in my writing career, I took on a couple of articles covering project management. To put it mildly, I didn’t know a Gantt chart from a PERT chart. Worse, I didn’t even know where to start. I had already learned, though, that vocabulary is the fastest way to become an expert on any subject — even if you don’t really know that much about a topic, at least you can talk the talk. I knew that in order to write these articles, I needed to learn the jargon that every project manager uses without even thinking.

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    So I fired up my web browser, and headed to Wikipedia…

    1. Wikipedia

    That’s right. My first stop is Wikipedia. I’ll be the first to admit that Wikipedia is never guaranteed to be the gospel truth, but I’ve found that for any learning project, whether I’m doing research for a school paper or trying to find the right words to talk about a particular topic, Wikipedia is guaranteed to be a good starting point. It’s because good Wikipedia articles link to fairly expert sources, the kind that are both a good source for an introductory-level encyclopedia article and for a crash course in the subject.

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    So, I’ll go to Wikipedia and skim the article on whatever my subject is. I’ll open up links and try to get an idea of related terms and important names. The names of people and companies can be as important to a conversation on a given topic as the actual vocabulary. It’s doubtful, after all, that anyone would have a conversation on productivity and entirely ignore David Allen and GTD.

    2. Taking Notes

    While I take notes primarily in conjunction with what I read online, you can take notes from any source you find useful. The actual act of transcribing information, preferably interpreting it into your one style of writing is incredibly helpful. When possible, I like to actually write things down by hand, but in this cut and paste world, even actually typing out words and definitions can help. The acts of writing and interpreting make it easier to remember and use a word later on that just copying it into your notes will. If you’ve got a little time, actually writing out a few paragraphs using your new words can really cement their meanings in your mind.

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    If you’re working on a written project, you may even come out ahead on your notes. You may be able to write them in such a way that you can use them in part or in whole for that research project or article or speech you’re preparing for. If that’s the case, consider trying to take your notes with that end in mind: structure your notes to match whatever product you’re in the process of creating.

    3. Experts

    Once I’ve got a general idea of a topic, I’ll go looking for an expert who can spend even a few minutes talking to me. I prefer someone in person but the internet has an expert on everything. Hearing how your expert uses terminology is a good way to learn, but using that terminology yourself and asking your expert to correct you can be even better.

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    At the very least, you’re guaranteed to learn proper pronunciation. I was one of those kids who read a lot of books in high school, including physics. I knew an awful lot about Richard Feynman, but it wasn’t until I actually head someone talking about him that I realized “fen-i-man” is not the correct pronunciation of his last name. That can be the biggest problem that comes from doing all your learning from books or Wikipedia: you may not know just how to say your newly-learned vocabulary.

    4. Roots

    If you’re struggling with jargon, a good way to get a handle on it is to look up a word’s roots. This can be as simple as typing your word into Dictionary.com and seeing what pops out. Plug in the word ‘dictionary,’ for instance, and it will tell you that the rood is ‘diction’ which means ‘word’ in Latin. The word ‘diction’ in English also describes carefully chosen words, helping us to make a connection between ‘dictionary’ and its root. This technique is surprisingly effective with scientific terms — some scientists just seem to enjoy making new terminology out of old Latin and Greek terms.

    5.Usage

    The moment you stop using your newly learned jargon, it starts slipping away. If you want to maintain your knowledge, you have to keep using it, if not building on it. Talk about the topic. Write about it. Blog about it if you have no other opportunity to use it in your day to day life. It’s the same problem you’ll have if you learn a foreign language. Even your bike riding skills can get rusty if you don’t use them regularly. They can even become outdated if you don’t notice changes in the area. I make a point of keeping my project management vocabulary up to date.

    Just this morning, I had the opportunity to write an article on the topic. If I hadn’t read the occasional project management article or chatted about the topic with an expert or two, I would have had to relearn all of that vocabulary. It wouldn’t have taken quite the effort of the first time around, but it would have made writing that article a much longer process.

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    Last Updated on February 18, 2019

    Why It’s Never Too Late To Redefine Yourself

    Why It’s Never Too Late To Redefine Yourself

    The ability to reinvent and redefine yourself is a bold, daring and purposeful choice. It doesn’t just happen. You have to make a conscious, intentional choice and then follow through.

    If the thought of forging a new path, changing habits, thought patterns and your inner circle of friends scares you – you’re not alone. Change can be a very scary thing. It takes courage, fortitude and a bit of faith to decide to shed your old self and don a new persona. However, it is one of the most critical processes one must repeatedly endure in the pursuit of destiny. Change unlocks new levels of potential.

    The Need for Change

    Everyday when we wake up, we make a decision. We decide to follow our routine or we decide to go off script and shake things up a bit. For those who are creatures of habit, routine is comfortable, easy and produces very little stress. The problem with this is, after a while you stop growing.

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    We all reinvent ourselves at some point in our lives. It is absolutely necessary to achieve certain levels of success.

    Reflect back on who you were as a teenager and then who you were at 25. Those are two very different people. Most of us are completely different. Your thought patterns changed, your appearance, job, level of education and even your friends– changed. We like to refer to this as “growing up” or maturing and consider it to be one of life’s natural progressions. However the changes you made were purposeful and deliberate.

    This process must be a lifelong and continuous cycle. You are never too old to refresh yourself.

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    Happy_old_man

      Signs It’s Time to Redefine

      “Just as established products and brands need updating to stay alive and vibrant, you periodically need to refresh or reinvent yourself.”– Mireille Guiliano

      So how do you know when it’s time for a system upgrade? There are signs along the way that alert you that it is time for an overhaul. The first sign is the feeling of being stuck. If you feel like you are in a rut, you’re bored with life or you need some newness and excitement, a self reinvention may be in order. Re-evaluate your life vision and your goals. Is that vision still valid and are your goals consistent with your vision and–are they achievable? If you are off course, it’s time for a change. If you are not moving forward and making progress, it’s time for a change.

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      In life, there’s no such thing as neutrality–you’re either moving forward or you are moving backward. Time constantly moves forward and if you are standing still, you are actually losing ground. No matter your age or stage in life– there is always room for improvement.

      “You’re never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” ~C. S. Lewis

      The second sign that you are due for a change is the occurrence of major life events in which change is forced upon you. Getting married, starting a new job, being promoted, ending a relationship, becoming a parenting or relocating are all prime opportunities to completely overhaul your life.

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      When these major shifts occur in your life–you have to shift with them. You can’t have a single mentality and have a successful marriage. You can’t remain selfish and irresponsible, and raise a healthy, well-adjusted child. You can’t be promoted to a supervisory position and keep the same subordinate attitude. Each level of success requires something different from you.

      Aronld in Predator

        Consider, for a moment, Arnold Schwarzenegger. People may have different opinions about his character and some of his life choices, but he is a master at reinventing himself. He achieved the ultimate success as a professional body builder by earning the title “Mr. Universe” three times. He then earned a tremendous amount of fame and fortune in the entertainment industry making action/adventure films. And in his latest role, he served two terms as the Governor of California. He succeeded as a professional body builder, a film star and a politician. Each role required massive amounts of change, commitment, strength and hard work.

        And if Arnold can do it…so can you!

        Featured photo credit: BK via flickr.com

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