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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 December 2, 2018

    7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

    7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

    When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

    You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

    1. Connecting them with each other

    Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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    It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

    2. Connect with their emotions

    Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

    For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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    3. Keep going back to the beginning

    Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

    On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

    4. Link to your audience’s motivation

    After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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    Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

    5. Entertain them

    While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

    Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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    6. Appeal to loyalty

    Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

    In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

    7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

    Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

    Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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