It's Time to Drop the Jargon

Have you ever gotten lost in a group discussion? It’s okay in a social setting where it’s possible to ask questions among peers, but in a one-way communication with customers, such as product landing pages and/or press releases, you need to eliminate all ambiguity.

Jargon is terminology unique to a specific subject. Only groups with a special interest in the topic will find the esoteric language enjoyable. For the rest of us, the insider terms are likely to come across as jibberish.

Take the following example reprinted from AdExchanger:

"with slight changes to protect the offender’s privacy): We “have developed a powerful data platform combined with a robust set of activation tools to create and build private, white-labeled, data-centric eco-systems. We drive innovation, data capture and customer engagement."

Umm, come again?

Also, from Clarity Health, which statement is easier to understand?

Report One: “A too-small-to characterize lesion of the liver, kidney, etc.”

Report Two: “Liver: several lesions that are too small to characterize are likely simple cysts.

Jargon is not just about incomprehensible language. Sometimes jargon creates unique meanings for subject-specific words. For instance, the word “accessibility” generally speaks to connectivity in the world of mainstream technology. In the disability sector, however, that same term refers to equal access.

It’s generally okay to use jargon inside the company, at events with likeminded experts, and in professional reports meant for your industry, but you’re generally better off simplifying the pitch. In fact, it seems people prefer simple all around.

Dropping the jargon helps you:

  • Connect more quickly and efficiently with customers
  • Create a more inclusive rapport with partners
  • Strengthen your own understanding of the subject by thinking of it in simpler terms

There is a time and place for jargon. In marketing, there is room for neither, but of course, if you disagree, agree to a point or have another example of why this is accurate, please use the comments to share!

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