Monday, August 25, 2008

The difference between Getting and Understanding

I've been speaking a lot with leading digital industry people recently and am getting suprised by the number of them stating phases such as:
  • "Your customers 'get' this idea!"

  • "Its a demographic difference, your target audience just 'get' it"

  • "Do you have management that just "doesn't get it"?"

Well, it stikes me that 'getting it' just doesn't cut the mustard really. In this sound-bite (sound-byte surely?) time we live in, everything has to be communicated in mere principles. Why has it become socially acceptable for people to consume just enough information to be able to recite your ideas back and nothing more?

What happened to 'Understanding'?

I sadly think that understanding is becoming a dirty word, somehow conveying that you either took too long to grasp a concept or that the person explaining somehow said too much. Perhaps its the consequence of a time-poor society that even providing suitable explanation is too much effort to the listener.

The word is a description of what it is: a solid support on which to base something heavy. It conveys, not just the retention of small lightweight premaces or 'revision friendly phrases', but the effort of listening hard and the comprehension of what is important.

When did you or your company last take the time to understand?
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