Fluent in Jargonese
I had a comment recently thanking me for explaining Enterprise Search in layman’s terms; or ‘laywoman’s’ terms. Whenever I get feedback like that it makes me very happy. Naturally I love to get thanks and positive feedback! But what’s really important to me is that I give useful and insightful help and information, about my work and my sector, that anyone can understand.
As you know, my first language is Hungarian. So I do sometimes worry that I have got my language right, especially when explaining something which may not be in the usual domain of who I am talking to or of who is reading what I write. Now you can see why it’s so great for me to hear that someone is happy with an explanation and that it is easily understood.
It’s very easy also for tech-heads like me to fall into jargonese. Every industry has its own jargon and I think IT is particularly fraught with terms and acronyms. Early in my speaking career I did notice that on occasion a speaker could completely lose the audience, or many of the audience, by over-use of jargon. It’s understandable in certain forums to expect that everyone there will be as familiar as you are with your industry’s jargon-speak. However, at other times it can be a shame to have listeners or readers miss out on some great messages, just for this reason.
Perhaps I am acutely aware of this in my communications and presentations because English is not my first language and I do present to a variety of cultures and countries on a fairly regular basis. (Even though I have cut back quite a bit recently to be with my baby son).
I’ve found the habit of being very considered in my language has stood me in very good stead. In my field it really is about the human element and how what I provide will best serve my clients. I need to very clearly understand what they want and need to make their jobs and their operations easier. Then of course, I need to be able to communicate how Enterprise Search and a particular project execution will address those very real, on-the-job requirements.
This is what we all do in any business, isn’t it? So I’d like to offer the thought that less jargon is always a good thing. In any environment.
I’d be interested to know if you agree and if you have had any particular jargonese experiences?