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Use plain English whenever possible

Software takes stab at corporate jargon. Deloitte Consulting admits it helped foster confusing, indecipherable language, but it's now released Bullfighter software to help business people avoid gobbledygook. [CNET News.com - E-Business]

Remember, Jargon is used to exclude people from certain communities or to simply make the user look smarter than they really are. But what does the use of jargon do to improve communications with people who might want to buy (or use) your offering.

Points to consider:

  1. Jargon makes understanding what you say difficult (especially for those who may not speak that language as their first language.) When I write my articles, I use simplified plain English. Why?
  2. Not everyone in your audience is up on terms nor has the time to decipher what you have to say. If you want to get your message across, make it easy to understand, even when the reader might be distracted.
  3. If you use lots of jargon, you're probably hiding something. To build relationships you must demonstrate honesty (both in perception and actual action), this can be done by clear jargon free communications.
  4. When jargon must be used, translate for the lay person. I include a glossary of terms for strategic relations terms, this way readers can get more information about specialized wording. Most topical books utilize this feature.
  5. Jargon can have value when used appropriately. Specialized wording can save time when speaking to individuals inside certain communities. Always consider your audiences needs.

It's better to say BMD than Ballistic Missile Defense when talking with the defense community, but if you are reporting on the topic to the general public, then spell out the term or reference a glossary. If you are unsure of your audience, or like iunctura, have a large international readership, then use plain English (or what ever language you write or speak.)

Often I'm told my materials are too simplistic (most often by peers), however, clients from almost 17 countries have commented the materials are easy to read and understand. If I was to submit the same papers for a trade association, I would need to upgrade my language to reflect that audience -- those that understand terms in organizational psychology, strategic relations, and process re-engineering.

What is more important for your message? Do your competitors need to understand what you say, or do buying customers? Ask yourself these questions, and tune your communications materials accordingly. You impress no one if your hundred page report is confusing the underlying message with useless jargon.

In summary, keep your writing and speaking appropriate to your audience and free of jargon.

© 2003-2008 Center for Strategic Relations, All rights reserved.

Justin Hitt provides industrial copy to help get your right message to the right buyers so that they choose you over anyone else. For complete copywriting solutions visit https://www.JustinHitt.com/
/ customer-service | clearly-communicate /

By Justin Hitt at June 17, 2003 2:55 PM  Subscribe in a reader

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