Here’s a New Year’s resolution we can get behind: reduce jargon and buzzwords for better communication. When used correctly, they can help like-minded individuals communicate more efficiently and effectively. However, problems arise when used without regard and unnecessarily, leading to confusion and a lack of understanding.
Jargon is a unique word or expression used by a particular profession or group and is often difficult for others to understand. While jargon may help experts communicate with clarity and precision, it makes others feel like uninformed outsiders. If you are a non-tech-savvy person, listen to a conversation between software engineers and see what we mean. The same goes for front-line workers listening to C-suite discussions.
A buzzword is a word or phrase which often begins as jargon then gains popularity and broad use. Some are so vague and used so broadly that it is impossible to understand the meaning. Others are often misused, and the original intent has lost any meaning. And then there are buzzwords that everyone thinks everyone else understands – but they do not.
If you scrolled past the image we used for this blog, scroll back up to see some jargon and buzzword examples.
While communicating with jargon and buzzwords may feel convenient, comfortable, and safe, their use makes it harder to communicate effectively. When it comes to everyday communication, clarity is key. Unless everyone understands what’s being said, work will be far more complicated than it needs to be, and people will be less productive.
As our Team Communication Tips blog noted, “Make sure the information you convey is clear and direct. Avoid vague and ambiguous statements.” Think about your audience first, and you’ll always choose the right words.
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