Your friend shows you a picture of a photograph she took. It’s absolutely stunning. The lighting, the composition, everything. It’s perfect! What do you say?
“You’re so talented!”
Why on earth do we say that? Was the picture taken the very first time your friend picked up a camera? Was that her first photo? It these answer to those things are yes, then it’s likely that it was pure talent–or pure luck. But, chances are, your friend worked very, very hard at learning the art of photography.
We use “talent” as kind of generic kind of praise, but it’s not really praise, because it’s saying “you had nothing to do with the success here. It’s all straight from God.” Now, if you believe that to be the case, fine, but most of us believe that God or no God, developing talent takes work. And we don’t need talent in order to succeed: We need to work.
This is why the Human Resource habit of using the word “talent” bugs me. We say we engage in “talent acquisition” instead of “recruiting.” But, what does that mean? Do we go and pluck talent off a shelf somewhere? What if someone doesn’t have all the “talent” you need right this instant? Does it acknowledge that we need to train and develop people?
To keep reading, click here: 10 Things to Say Instead of “You’re so Talented”