J is for jargon

J is for jargon

Why you need to reduce the jargon in your content

The internet is awash with disruption, blue-sky thinking and low-hanging fruit – much of it assessed in granular detail, its very DNA explored in a deep dive.

Jargon might sometimes be big; but it isn’t always clever. Unless it conveys useful meaning, avoid it like the plague. Ditto cliches (as the old editors’ joke goes).

The trouble with buzzwords and business jargon is that while they can start out offering insight into exciting and original ideas, they quickly become hackneyed.

Here are some thoughts on avoiding jargon.

Take disruption as an example. Coined as a business term by American academic professor Clayton Christensen in his 1997 book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, there is no doubt it is one of the biggest ideas out there. But when absolutely everyone claims to be disrupting – or its close variation, breaking things –  it starts to feel more anarchic toddler group than true innovation.

Jargon puts readers off. They might suspect it hides a lack of substance. Often it does. It looks lazy and risks not communicating your message clearly.

Of course there is a place for some technical terms when addressing an expert audience, or explaining something about which you have real expertise. Leverage, for example, is a great word when talking about investment or finance to financial professionals. In other circumstances, “make the most of” works fine.

Try to use “real” words. Avoid technical terms or jargon if you can think of an everyday equivalent. Or maybe we should say: think outside the box.

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