Daily Archives: January 19, 2008

Names, jargon and buzzwords

Here is an interesting story from Richard Feynman – the late world-famous  physicist. When he was a boy, one of his friends was bragging that he knew the name of a particular bird and laughed at Feynman for being “ignorant”. Feynman recalled what his father told him:

“You can know the name of that bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird. You’ll only know about humans in different places and what they call the bird. So let’s look at the bird and see what it’s doing — that’s what counts.”

This is a wonderful approach to learning and presentation. Many people have a habit of dropping names or using technical jargon in their presentation – thinking that would impress the audience with their “knowledge”.

It is just like Feynman’s childhood friend who thought he knew something about the bird simply because he knew its name.