YouTube Product Lead on Team Building (Part 3)

Effective communication is an essential skill for team building and maintaining positive culture in your organization. I’m fascinated by the mechanics of how our brains understand language. The way that we use it applies to so many of our daily conversations. When we do this effectively, we can use language as leverage.

The first example that I’ll share is how we can de-escalate a scary situation. If you work with engineering teams, you may have tried to implement Agile Engineering software. This can be unpopular with some teams – and one way to address concerns is to say “we’re going to test this and if it doesn’t work, we’ll go back to our old process.”

Getting back to the growth mindset, there are a number of linguistic tricks that you can use to change the tone of what you say to reinforce positivity. One example is not calling something a post-mortem unless it’s actually a post-mortem – try calling it a retrospective instead.

Another example of changing up words is evaluating an event in terms of what went well versus what went badly. Usually, anyone who has an item in the “what went badly” column will get defensive and shy away from engaging further. So instead of referring to these items as “what went badly,” you can say “what could have been better.”

This is all rooted in the growth mindset. All of these linguistic tricks are subtle changes, but this approach makes a huge difference in how people interpret feedback and reinforces continuous learning within your team.


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About the speaker
Will Aldrich Member