We all do it: say ‘leverage’ when we mean use, talk about ‘granularity’ instead of detail, refer to deliverables, low-hanging fruit, moving targets, key learnings. But what about the more serious culprits? Where we use euphemisms like ‘headcount’ for people, ‘change management’ to suggest restructuring – which is not to say downsizing, efficiencies, or heaven forbid, job cuts.
It can be tough to avoid using buzzwords and jargon in the world of corporate communication. Part of our job in PR is getting tough messages out on behalf of our bosses and clients. And after all, a good catch phrase or a cliché can get an idea across faster than trying to invent something new. Can’t it?
Not always. Most of the time, there are better, fresher ways to get your message across. Using simple English. Well-chosen words that tell it like it is and don’t smack of corporate-speak. Which is to say double talk, dishonesty and insincerity.
Spin it if you must but fight till the death I will to get my clients to use simple, straight-up language. This can be an uphill battle, one I sometimes lose. Especially with corporate strategists and HR people, who simply must use the lingo to justify their expertise.
Whether you’re writing a cover letter, an email or a blog post, keep it simple.
Here are a few helpful – and yes, entertaining! – articles on business jargon best avoided, along with some basic writing tips we can all use. And I don’t mean leverage.
- Business jargon fixes for bloggers
- The most annoying business jargon (this one cracked me up!)
- A business jargon dictionary
- What not to write in a cover letter
If you’d like some support in communicating without jargon, we’d love to hear from you!