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Sep. 13 2018

Lost in Translation: How speaking in jargon makes everyone miss your message.

The world is full of products and services that make life easier. Unfortunately, it’s also full of companies who try to promote those products and services using the most complicated language possible.

It’s the language of jargon – a language made up of obscure acronyms, business buzzwords and confusing catchphrases. Almost every industry has their own. And almost every industry seems to forget that they’re the only ones who use it on a daily basis.

Phrases like “Enthusiastically Fabricate Functional Paradigms” and “Progressively Engineer Value-Added Strategies” probably get tossed around in boardrooms and inter-office email chains every single day. And that’s where they need to stay.

Because when you allow jargon to work its way into external communications – you may know what you’re talking about. But the rest of the world won’t.

Potential customers and clients don’t have the same connection to the words and phrases you use every day. They’ll get frustrated by language that lacks any obvious meaning. They’ll lose interest. And they’ll look elsewhere.

When it comes to content – clean and simple sells. So, any time you’re writing anything meant to go outside of your office walls, (social media posts, web content or traditional ads) keep a few things in mind:

Lose the Technical Terms

To you, they might sound professional. But to customers, they might make you sound unapproachable.

Spell Out Acronyms

Because when you don’t – ANPR, CERCLA and FOIA are nothing more than oddly misspelled words.

Write the Way You Talk

Conversational writing accomplishes the opposite of jargon – it makes the reader feel like you’re talking with them…rather that at them.

At its best, jargon helps people communicate within their inner circles. But at its worst, it excludes the outside world and masks real meaning. Sometimes, you get so used to using certain buzzwords that you lose sight of the ideas they were meant to communicate in the first place. And if you don’t know what you’re trying to say, what chance does your customer have?

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