Decades ago, I had an older Sicilian-born relative who would constantly put his foot in his mouth and anger the people around him. One time, when he was called out on this, he offered a classic response that still cracks me up:

(cue thick Sicilian accent) “Words is words!”

Well, I think most of you would agree that words matter…a lot. The stakes are always high whenever we communicate, especially with people we love, colleagues, and other stakeholders in our lives.

Under the umbrella of “words in general,” I think that terms matter a great deal as well; especially the ones that we toss around in everyday conversation. Once you take the time to learn what the term or phrase actually means, you can be more intentional and effective when you communicate with others.

Talkin’ bout’ data

As an example, let’s explore the term “data.” Here’s some definitions that I find helpful and clarifying as I continue to grow my data analysis and data storytelling skills:

Data: Raw inputs, possessing no intrinsic value by itself.

Information: Data with added meaning.

Knowledge: Information packaged together to convey purpose, patterns, and predictions.

Data Science: A field combining domain expertise, programming skills, and knowledge of math and statistics to extract meaningful insights from data. These insights can drive new business value through simplifying operations, reducing costs, and creating strategies for customers, products, and services.

So, next time you’re working on a data-infused project–which is hopefully every project in every aspect of your professional work–you can ask the data experts in or outside of your organization for even more specific help and guidance.

Words, and terms, matter because they can help others more quickly and specifically know how to help us.

Let’s connect

I’m an ICF and Hogan certified coach, equipping professionals to develop their authentic human leadership capabilities in the age of AI. My customers are internal HR or L&D professionals seeking coaching for their business clients, as well as business leaders looking to connect directly with a coach for themselves or their team members. Use this link to schedule a call with me to discuss potential coaching services. You can also email me or message me on LinkedIn.