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"Content was very solid, well researched, very well presented. Very easy to listen to. Engaging and approachable!"

-Anonymous, 2017 Australian Testing Days conference

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"Great session! Audience was engaged and there was lots of participation!"

-Anonymous, 2017 CodeMash conference



"Moving Ideas with Words" - A thoughtful and deep session that philosophically and practically explores words, meaning, communication, miscommunication, and language.


Very simply, "commute" is "moving people" (sometimes, with cars) and "communication" is "conveying ideas" (sometimes, with words). Put them together and get "commutication" - moving ideas with words.


Jean Baptiste Girard said, "By words we learn thoughts, and by thoughts we learn life.” But, how are thoughts shared? How are concepts conveyed? One way is by using words.  But, which words should you use?  And how can you tell if your words effectively convey your thoughts?  What causes miscommunication, what are its effects, and how can you avoid it?  And what are the benefits and limitations of a shared language?


In this workshop, we will move from general to specific as we collaboratively attempt to understand and answer these questions.  Starting with the definition of definition, we will investigate words and meaning, their properties, and their relationship.  We will examine how miscommunication can occur, look at some potential consequences of it, and explore a few methods to minimize it.  Finally, we will apply these ideas as we attempt to define some common terms and create a “shared language”. In the end, attendees will gain new knowledge and tools to help them more effectively move ideas with words!


Anyone interested in learning how to "better understand others and be better understood".


2-8 hours

Key Takeaways

  • The relationship between words and meaning

  • Identifying and avoiding miscommunication

  • Creating and using a shared language


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