Remove Jargon — An Excerpt from Unleashing Your Superpower

Remove all internal (or generally unknown) jargon

We often communicate with insider language that isolates those who aren’t “in the know.” Perhaps it makes us feel smarter – a member of some inner circle – to use esoteric terms. But anytime there’s an inner circle, there are, by definition, people left outside.

There’s a fine line between conveying that you’re the expert and using “insider-y” language. Old-school thinking was that when you pitch, you want to wow them with the jargon. Those days are gone.

Be careful not to unnecessarily alienate the people you’re actually trying to persuade. If the internal jargon isn’t necessary, strike it. If you use an acronym, define it. Then stick with it.

Here’s an example of what can go wrong when you use an unnecessary acronym:

While writing copy, you use an obscure, undefined acronym. Your user Googles it to learn its meaning. Another person, vying for your user’s attention, serves up an interesting ad on that page. Your user clicks that ad, which is actually an action-packed video. While watching the video, a text message pops in. It’s an invite to dinner. Think your user cares about your message now? Probably not. Now the question is, “What’s for dinner?”

Bottom line: Don’t create barriers with language. When it’s time to introduce denser language, introduce it with some context.

“Simplicity is an exact medium between too little and too much.” – Sir Joshua Reynolds

Here’s what we learned: less is more. Focus only on what is necessary and important. Everything can be saved for later.

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