Thursday, February 16, 2012

Avoid Jargon

Today I shared I took note of a link I saw on Google+ for the language of the excerpts:
"The only sustainable competitive advantage is knowledge of and engagement with customers," wrote Forrester analyst Josh Bernoff. "Brand, manufacturing, distribution and IT are all table stakes. The only source of competitive advantage is the one that can survive technology-fueled disruption, an obsession with understanding, delighting, connecting with and serving customers. In this age, companies that thrive ... are those that tilt their budgets toward customer knowledge and relationships."


Terms like "technology-fueled disruption" sound like something you would see see in "Dilbert." In "Politics and the English Language,"Orwell made the point that jargon gets in the way of clarity and impedes communication. Sometimes that is the point -- to keep the information obscured so that people feel they need your insight. You can market your services to those who are ignorant of which "sustainable competitive advantage" will "survive technology-fueled disruption" by assuring them that you know because you know the terms.

Given that start to my day, I found this list of sales jargon terms to avoid from Inc. a most welcome breath of fresh air. I almost had to laugh because one of the terms mentioned, "low-hanging fruit" was used in an email I received today. I wasn't impressed when I read the email even before I read this article. That may just make these things a it more bearable -- making a game of finding the jargon in business communication, particularly from people who pretend to be experts on writing, as was the case for the email I mentioned.