Language as a Window into Human Nature - steven pinker (RSA)

the good coach's insights

Language is the most common way we communicate to each other. In the context which Steven Pinker describes here in "Language as a Window into Human Nature" he shares how complex language is when we speak to others, we speak either in a direct and explicit manner or in an indirect and 'please read in between the lines' way, and the type of relationship (dominance, communality and reciprocity) we know we have with others. When there is a whiff of ambiguity in the relationship it results in awkwardness, and the question now becomes what's the appropriate way to communicate. There are many examples of how easily this arises, a team leader/manager is promoted from within what's the relationship now, working in a team with diversity locally and/or virtually, working on a project with different levels of expertise, working as an expat manager with a local team, misunderstanding of agreed outcomes etc. In all these cases it would be best to use direct and explicit language as it is an excellent way of creating that mutual knowledge and understanding between each other as all the parties involved can begin from an agreed starting point. Yet depending on the context of the situation(as you watch the clip), be aware that when it's 'out there' you can't take it back! So the manner in which you communicate is just as important as using direct and explicit language.