Don’t let jargon cloud your communications

17 November 2014, Blog

The use of business jargon is always a hot topic in the JBP office.

Business jargon can be misleading, confusing and boring, but it is a trap we can easily fall into.

When we talk about business jargon we are generally referring to one or two things – words that are particular to a trade or words that are pretentious. Sometimes we can experience a spectacular combination of the two.

In today’s business world, it’s difficult to go a working week without being told that someone is “ahead in the count”, wants to “connect ear-to-ear” or “reach out” to their “end-users”, or, my personal favourite, promising a piece of work that will be ready by the “end of play”.

Jargon terms or ‘buzz words’ cloud both messaging and everyday conversation.

If you have a conversation with someone in your own profession using terms you both understand, then great. However, if you are using specific industry words or phrases when speaking to someone outside of your sector, their eyes may glaze over. They might even walk away, ready to give their business to someone who cares enough to communicate with them properly.

They can understand communication has little value when only the speaker fully grasps what he or she has said. If you find it hard to explain in simple terms, try imagining you are talking to an elderly relative.

Some people seem to revel in using complex words and phrases. There’s a pomposity about those who prefer to say “facilitate” rather than “help” or “liaise” instead of “talk”.

Many seem to think that using such terminology helps to demonstrate a person’s expertise, but what’s the point if your audience can’t understand you?

Jargon is an obstacle to effective work communication. I’d therefore encourage everyone to quit the jargon and start straight-talking to help get their story across. I know I’m certainly going to be “talking” more than I “liaise” in future.

JBP Staff Member

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