It’s rare to hear anyone say something nice about jargon.Why would we? Long, abstract, technical words, phrases and initialisms are rampant vandals in many speeches, writing, presentations and interviews. They cloud communication, sap patience and corrode likeability.
But not all jargon is bad. Jargon can be profitable, even necessary.
In every art, profession, science and trade, jargon saves time and is a hallmark of those in-the-know, who can name things without fully describing and explaining them. Such specialist language is efficient, effective and contributes to rapport and fraternity. It is often essential. When an eye surgeon asks urgently for iris scissors, he doesn’t want a canaliculus knife.
The problem comes when we unload jargon at the wrong time, on the wrong people, misjudging audience familiarity or interest, or simply forgetting to turn jargon off.
The cure, from advertising to zoology, is to have clear replacement words and phrases ready to communicate with outsiders.
French playwright, Molière (pic above) said in 1663, “Humanise your talk and speak to be understood.”
Sounds easy, takes work, but is worth the effort.
First words can be powerful. Too often they’re not. Starting every sentence with “So” is as prevalent in business as “like” among teenagers. ‘Nuff said.