Stop the Madness (of Jargon)!


I’m typing this from the hospital.  My father had major surgery two days ago and is drugged to the gills.  Yesterday the wound care specialist came in to discuss wound care.

Did I mention he was drugged to the gills?

The specialist launched into a highly technical, jargon-filled lecture about the surgery and what the future would entail.  When we did not respond properly, she expressed her annoyance in a jovial sort of way.  Finally, I asked her if she could use less technical terms.  I didn’t even understand what she was talking about and I wasn’t on morphine (though I was starting to wish I had been).

She couldn’t do it.  The jargon was her language, her only way of expressing herself.

I get it.  I used to work in a jargon-filled economic development world, and had the double whammy of government acronyms to contend with.  When you’re audience is other people who work in your world, the jargon is fine.  You start to take it for granted.  But when your audience is someone outside of it — total failure.

So check your website, check your marketing materials, check yourself.  Are you speaking jargon?  How can you describe what you do and the benefits you provide in words your clients “get” more easily?


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