To be clear, jargon refers to special words particular professions or groups use and are difficult for others to understand.
Or, as my favorite jargon definition from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary states, “obscure and often pretentious language marked by circumlocutions and long words,” which makes me wonder if they were being tongue-in-cheek using jargon in the definition of jargon.
Either way, we all use jargon.
And we probably use it even more often in our business communications including our websites and our blogs. Which then, as the above definition states, may make us seem pretentious.
Clear communication is vital to any successful business communication, and a business blog is no exception. A well-written blog can increase readability and your SEO score. These are two items that help people find your blog among a sea of others.
Craig and Dave Yewman, cofounders of Elevator Speech, give a great example of jargon in this Inc. article:
“When we go to a party on Saturday night, we don’t walk up to a group of people and say, ‘Let me tell you how I optimized my calendar last Wednesday to monetize my business.’ You tell people a story about what happened. They laugh and ask questions. Then, they go across the room and tell someone else.”
Three Easy Tips to Avoid Jargon
All you need to do is tell the story with simple and appropriate words. Telling a story engages your readers. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when writing or speaking:
- Remember KISS (and no, we don’t mean the 80s hair band): KISS means “keep it simple and straightforward.” People don’t want to read a blog post that causes them to turn to the dictionary to look up every other word (if they even hang in there to read more than a few words – most readers will just move on).
- Know your audience: I think we are all tired of hearing words like “leverage” and “ideation” (as in “let’s have an ideation session”). Remember the KISS rule here – an ideation session is really a brainstorming session. And leveraging something is just using it.
- Don’t use words that are not in the dictionary: This might be challenging given what we are hearing via the media these days (Think covfefe). The flip side of this is to be careful using words that are in the dictionary but that are not widely used. For example, during the 2016 Presidential elections, then-candidate Trump was thought to use the word “bigly.” Contrary to popular belief, “bigly” is a word – it’s just that no one uses it and therefore no one understood it.
It’s really not hard to remove jargon from your writing. Just tell the story as you would to a friend. It’s that easy. With our passion for increasing SEO rankings, we can certainly help make the process easier.