Have you ever been in that situation where someone was using an abbreviation and you thought you knew what it meant? Then in the conversation you felt a bit awkward as it seemed that they were talking about something else…


These situations are often the basis for a lot of misunderstanding. When people use and speak acronyms or abbreviations with conviction, they create a situation whereby it looks as if everyone knows what the meaning of it is. If you don’t know, then you might look stupid when asking. Nobody wants to look stupid, so people don’t ask.


As an outsider I am often in a position where most of the abbreviations my clients use are new to me. I do ask the questions, simply because I want to understand my client. It is interesting to see how the body language of some of the people in the room changes as well. They feel relieved that someone asked the “dumb” question!


Avoid communication issues and be clear in your words: try to avoid acronyms and abbreviations. In the beginning it will be a matter of choosing your words carefully. After a while it will become a habit to speak in full words – or write in full words, which might even be easier. There are many tools available that can automatically replace your abbreviation with the full word. I use TextExpander, which is a great tool that helps me to avoid abbreviations in my writing.


Are you aware of the amount of abbreviations you use? Try this: keep track of the amount of times you use an abbreviation this week. Simply write down the abbreviation and count the times you use it. You will be surprised!