Jargon Must Die

Why do we talk this way? Let’s look at a few reasons.

  • In emotionally difficult discussions, we mask what we need to say with words that make us feel less uncomfortable.
  • We feel unconfident, so we lead with apologies or self-deprecating qualifiers before presenting information.
  • We’ve not adequately planned or thought through a strategy to the point where we can explain it with “normal words”.
  • We feel like we need to try and impress readers/listeners by using “fifty cent words”.

Step 1: Competence

Step 2: Confidence

Step 3: Clarity

  1. Read your writing out loud. I do this every time I write, and it’s the single editing activity that catches more mistakes than anything else.
  2. Explain it to someone. Ideally, to someone without direct context of what you’re writing about. Can they understand it? Summarize it? Are they doom-scrolling on Facebook while you’re talking? Their reaction to what you’re explaining will tell you a LOT.
  3. “What does this sentence actually mean?” All of your key points should survive this line of questioning. If you have a sentence about “streamlining achievement of results and ensuring no balls get dropped”, you’ve successfully written about nothing. Get specific!

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