Call it what you will: business jargon, corporate lingo, business school speak — it really just provides a shortcut or short phrase that defines a bigger idea within the world of business. But whatever it stands for, the time has come where we can all agree that jargon has become annoying, pretentious, and in many cases, useless.
According to Jennifer Chatman, a management professor at the University of California – Berkeley, “Jargon masks real meaning. People use it to substitute for thinking hard and clearly about their goals and the direction that they want to give others.”
And, unfortunately, most business jargon is vague enough that it is not necessarily universally understood, so your audience may have no idea of what you are talking about. It’s so much better to speak authentically and say what you mean!
Why we use business jargon
For many, as much as we claim to hate it, it has become just another bad habit. Turns out it takes a lot of discipline to speak in plain English, especially when surrounded by our co-workers and clients, not to mention our boss. Something makes us feel like we have to speak in jargon in order to fit in. When everyone uses it, it can’t sound clichéd, can it?
Please, just stop
Some business jargon has been around so long that it is extremely dated. And other words and phrases are so overused that they irritate literally everyone; to the point that Forbes Magazine published a list of the 45 most serious offenders in 2016.
Do everyone (including your friends and family) a favor and discontinue the use of words and phrases such as core competency, buy-in, S.W.A.T. Team, and empower. Please don’t ask to anyone to “open the kimono” or “think outside the box”. And even though “it is what it is”, can’t we agree that while that may be true, it doesn’t mean anything more than the fact that we are resigned to the situation. Why don’t we just say that instead?
Need help communicating more effectively?
One of the best ways to break free of business jargon is to get an outsider’s perspective. Feedback can come from a co-worker or colleague, but do make sure they too aren’t using the same overstuffed, nonsense words.
Another helpful tip is to hire a copywriter or marketing consultant, who specialize in making sure the words your business uses are both impactful and easy for any reader to understand.
Lumen Marketing can help to improve and simplify the words your company uses, everywhere your customers are — online, in print and at events. Give us a call today at 720-722-2987 to learn more.