Is Jargon Killing The Growth Of Your Business

How it affects your customers, kills emotion and hurts your business.

It’s time we realised there’s an epidemic crippling marketers everywhere, especially in the B2B space. It’s time we accepted that jargon is a crutch holding us back from being the best presenters and influencers we can be. The reasons we default to jargon are clear. It’s a short cut, one that we think makes ideas easier to understand and speeds up communication, but in reality it does a lot more harm than good.

Technical language is like an express train into left brain thinking, where logic dominates and decisions get trapped in analysis paralysis. So if you’re using jargon in your sales presentations or in any of the ways you promote your business, my one piece of advice to you is this: Just stop.

Human beings are hard wired to make decisions and take action based on emotion. We make choices emotionally, which we then justify logically. The jargon that we think makes us sound smart, is really the opposite, because it’s taking our prospects directly into a manner of thinking that’s proven to make them less likely to buy. On the other hand, the use of stories and emotionally charged language has been proven to increase a prospect’s tendency to buy.

Think about the way you consume videos on social media, we don’t share Luke-warm content. It has to be emotionally hot for us to pass it onto our friends. If it’s funny, it has to be hilarious, if it’s inspiring, it has to be awe inspiring, if it’s sad, it has to be heart breaking, the list goes on! The same goes for your audience during a sales presentation. In order to get them to take action you need to tip them over an emotional threshold. During a great sales presentation a prospect will remember very little of what you said, but they will remember the way you made them feel.
 Jargon is a necessary evil in many industries and if the powers that be are insisting you use your ‘professional’ thesaurus there are still plenty of ways we can side step failure by using more influential language patterns.

The way I like to achieve this with my clients is simple: every time you see jargon or tech-heavy language in a script for a presentation, immediately write below it any of the following:

  • Essentially what that means is…
  • Effectively the point I’m making is that…
  • What it all boils down to is…

Whatever you write next will be a simplified, more effective and more emotional way of illustrating what you were talking about. It will be filled with language that will keep your prospects in their feelings and keep you closer to the sale.

The perfect example is a client I once worked with who was a medical researcher and a paediatrician. He had so whole heartedly surrendered to believing his presentations would always be dry, that his go to tactic was to insert a picture of a puppy in between every “important slide”. After we agreed that, that wasn’t a good long term strategy, I told him to try the “essentially” exercise and after trying it out, his feedback was spot on.

He said when he talked about diseases and treatments with the families of the children he was treating, he was always very articulate and well understood because he kept it simple. After trying the “essentially” exercise he realised that in order to be articulate and well understood by medical professionals, he had to speak to them in the same way he spoke to the kids and their families.

Emotional conversations are messier and more casual than sleek, cold, logical conversations. They revolve around speaking in a way that evokes feelings from your audience, first to do with pain and then through your product, solution or service moving away from that pain, towards pleasure. It’s a simple process that jargon makes complicated. As Einstein once said “if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”