Out, Damned Jargon! Out, I Say!

This post originally appeared on ArtsHacker.com.

jargon
noun jar·gon \ ˈjär-gən , -ˌgän \

1 : the technical terminology or characteristic idiom of a special activity or group sports
2 : obscure and often pretentious language marked by circumlocutions and long words an academic essay filled with jargon

Arts organization descriptive copy is filled with jargon. We have lots of words that are specific to our art form which we use to describe our organization or events.

The problem with this is that people who are not familiar with us don’t understand what we are saying. It is like we are speaking a foreign language. It is hard to make any sort of connection with someone if they can’t understand you, let alone convince them to spend money on a ticket.

Study after study finds that, when trying to appeal to the masses, it is better to use simple words.

This was recently brought into focus in an article in Inc: Smart Entrepreneurs Use Third-Grade Words. Steve Jobs Did and You Should, Too.

“Some people love speaking in jargon, using fancy words and turning everything into acronyms. It’s far better to use a simple term and commonplace words that everyone will understand.” — Richard Branson

Check out the full article and think about how you might be able to swap out the jargon for more easily understandable words.

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