Lockwords: The Opposing Force Of Keywords?


What is the opposing force of keywords in communication? Wouldn’t it be lockwords? When describing something, my goal is to get the listener to understand it in their own mind. It’s like trying to get them to walk through a doorway into a room so that they can look around and see what I’m talking about for themselves.

When I use keywords in my communication, it’s like throwing them the keys to the door. Keywords tend to be built from common words that the listener already has in their vocabulary. If we were to simplify our communication into as few simple words as possible, we’d be left with the keywords. 

When I start using acronyms, tech talk, or industry jargon, it’s like adding a lock to the doors of the room. To open these lockwords, pre-requisite knowledge about their meanings is needed, unless the person I’m speaking to infers the meaning from the surrounding context.

Lockwords can be useful because a single lockword can stand for an entire concept. For someone that understands these words, the communication travels faster.

However, the more lockwords we have on our doors, the less amount of people there are that can unlock them. We may find it harder to reach a broader audience because not everyone wants to put in the effort to understand how they open.

Reaching a broader audience isn’t necessarily a problem; for instance when the communication is between people in a given field of study. However, when we need to reach more people, lockwords become a problem.

Do Lockwords Keep Your Message Secure?

For some people, lockwords don’t prevent them from getting inside the room. Instead, they may look for a backdoor or an open window to get to the information inside of the room. Once inside, they most likely use their own simple keywords to understand what they find.

Have you ever had difficulty explaining something until the person you were explaining it to summed it up nicely in a few words of their own? Do you find yourself using lockwords when you don’t need to?

When we start looking at all the accessible routes into our rooms of information, we’re able to find the easiest ways in.

Even words we take for granted like business and marketing may be lockwords to certain audiences!

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