When we’re embedded in a business or working closely with a leader, we can get used to jargon.

We hear jargon around us, and everybody nods. So we begin to use jargon in our own conversations, and everybody nods. And then, before we know it, we slip down that slope, and we’re using jargon in our writing–and everybody keeps nodding.

Until employees hear the message and start scratching their heads.

That’s when leaders, who started this whole thing, throw up their hands and say, “They just don’t get it.” Like, it’s the employees’ fault. Well, why should they get it? The language is impenetrable.

What do I mean by jargon? Phrases or words like:

  • Buy In
  • Outside the Box
  • Synergize
  • Learnings
  • Paradigm Shift
  • Frictionless Design
  • Low-Hanging Fruit
  • Take Offline
  • Leverage

I’m sure you have many more examples!

The point is, jargon is a kind of abbreviation for meaning. Short hand. But the meaning is implied; the real sense isn’t explicit. As a result, when your employees hear the message,  they make assumptions, and those assumptions might not agree with the meaning that you intended.

So instead of using jargon, why not use plain language? Use nouns and verbs. Describe actions and events. Be clear and specific–even if you need to use several words to replace the jargon. You’ll be more confident that you have conveyed the message accurately, and that your audience can understand it.

Resist the siren call of jargon. Review your writing, whether content for your mobile platform or a presentation for your senior-most executive or anything in between. Remember, the audience doesn’t know what you know.

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