Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I ran across a new word today. Have you ever heard of the word indaba? It is a word whose origin is from the Zulu language in South Africa. Originally, an indaba was a meeting of the "principal men" of the Zulu and Xhosa people of South Africa. In the Zulu language, the word means business or matter.

The use of the word has expanded. From Wikipeida:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, used the expression when he announced, in April 2008, a move away from plenary meetings voting on formal resolutions for bishops attending the 2008 Lambeth Conference. He introduced "middle sized groups for discussion of larger issues"...
One page I read said that the word means "a gathering for purposeful discussion."

I know that sometimes we stop using a word because of its negative connotation. Meeting might be a word that has baggage that effects it negatively. A gathering for purposeful discussion gives more meaning to what we hope to do in a productive meeting.

Sometimes I am in a meeting whose purpose seems either to discuss non-important (in my view) issues to death OR on the opposite end of the scale, to move through business in a non-productive, but speedy rate. Neither of those are very helpful. Sometimes when I'm in a meeting, what I consider to be purposeful discussion is seen as adversarial or challenging. I don't mean it to be; I hope it isn't, but I often enter a meeting promising myself that I won't provide input, for just that reason.

Oh, well, rambling. Anyway, I like the word indaba. A gathering for purposeful discussion.

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