We do not think that word means what you think it means.

Hello, and welcome to our digital dumping ground, a repository for strategic ideas new and noteworthy, and the realization of our organizational philosophy through the written word. Hopefully, that sentence was as difficult for you to read as it was for us to write. What we meant to say was, “Hi, and welcome to our company blog.” What you read above was an example of “management jargon,” as explained below by BBC and Financial Times contributor Lucy Kellaway. We’ve all read or heard statements like the ones Kellaway lampoons in her segment. Whether it’s words like “synergy” or phrases like “exited doors not aligned with brand status,” the layman listener will mostly likely be left scratching their heads. (Actually, we were, too.) Amy, our account executive, cops to using big words because they “make [her] feel smarter.” Maybe, to some degree, we are all still trying to use those famed “ten-dollar words” to earn extra credit points. But that’s the problem with jargon – instead of earning you brownie points from your audience, it often alienates them from your message and leaves them confused. The technical writing gurus over at Dozuki have created an easy manual for writers that may be struggling to get their message across. Some of the key takeaways:
  • Lead with the most important information
  • Dump any empty words
  • Reduce the amount of “to be” verbs
  • Use passive voice strategically
  • Use Plain Language
  That last one, Plain Language, is capitalized for a reason. The Plain Language movement “is focused on readers.” According to their website, the folks over at the Center for Plain Language consider it a civil right to ensure that a message’s audience can “quickly and easily find what they need, understand what they need, and act appropriately on that understanding.” While we’re not out to legislate language, we do think that it is crucial that communications practitioners keep in mind the varying education and expertise levels of their target audience. Are you submitting a release to an industry publication or academic journal? Then, it is probably appropriate to use a bit more jargon in your writing than you would for the 5 o’clock local news. And remember: einstein                            

    Leave a Reply