Addressing the elephant in the room; a business jargon or a cliché that refers to something that you need to talk about but are avoiding. Wonder why this jargon exists? Perhaps it is the visual or maybe it is fun to say. But how does it really affect your communication?
From clichés to buzzwords or acronyms, jargons could cost you your business. The words you pick when speaking to a client or a fellow employee are indicative of you and your brand. Language is how they connect to you and sometimes, a little straight talk makes it easier for them to say yes. So while the overused clichés might tempt you, slaying them might be your best option.
Moment of truth
Imagine this: the client you have always wanted has just fixed a meeting with you. This is your moment, your time to make them trust you. Now, you just have to say the right things and so you rehearse. In the bathroom, while driving yourself to work, right before you go to bed or while eating your breakfast.
You want the client to see your confidence, your knowledge, and your authority. First impression is the best, after all. So you find comfort in the business jargon, thinking that it might make you sound like you are in the know. It might give you the self-assurance you need. And so your speech goes like this:
But the truth is when you sound like you a know-it-all; people confuse it with boasting or over confidence. No one wants to do business with a know-it-all. People want a real person, who knows the reality and tells it like it is. That is who people want to do business with.
Don’t push people away
When you use jargon people don’t understand, they assume you to be lofty or arrogant. It can make them feel dumb and inferior. When you talk over people’s heads it makes them defensive. If you plan on establishing a connection then this is the last thing you want to do.
Remember, business is about people. People who have come to you with problems that they need help solving. Business jargon is a barrier that takes away from your solutions. So let your business talk, and throw away the pile of buzzwords.
Now, we know why business jargons need to be done away with. But what else is getting in the way of effective communication? A major setback is the inability of understanding words meant for reading versus words meant for speaking.
Take an example of this article itself. This piece is meant to be read internally and not spoken out loud. The distinction between the way you speak is extremely different from the way you read in the business world.
One sure shot way to get out of this trap is reading out loud. Whatever you plan to say out loud, read it out loud first. This applies to pitches, presentations, brand statements, and meetings. Practice, practice, practice. And soon enough, you will be able to identify your mistakes. Speak in front of someone you trust, ask them to provide feedback so that your pitch can stay in the “attention” zone and be forever out of the “say what now?” zone.
Another way of avoiding jargon is replacing it with you what you expect, the actual result or getting the effect you hope for.
With Jargon: “To get you better results we want to touch base with the audience”
Without Jargon: “We hope to get you a 20% increase in the readership by helping you build a deeper connection with your readers. Which is why we propose this <insert solution>.”
Another thing to be wary about is using too many words. It is easy to rely on more words when you are trying to sound professional or smart. But if something can be explained with in lesser words, do it. Too many words or extra long sentences easily confuse people. Proofreading may help with this. If you can rope in a colleague to help it will be better because another set of eyes will help you identify more mistakes.
Mantra: Go Jargon free!
Professionalism and jargons do not go hand in hand. The former comes from a place of experience, confidence and self-assurance. When you use jargons you appear to be void of these qualities. Professionalism can help your solutions and ideas be heard loud and clear. It can help you connect with your ideal customer better than ever.
So, know the difference between the written and the spoken and be open to someone read and listen to your work. Have them criticise it to make it better. And remember, talk to your employees and clients like they are humans, your equals.