Why Do We Use Jargon And How Can We Stop?

Here is a shocking revelation, are you ready? It’s the answer to the question of why do we use jargon. Answer: We all use jargon at work because it puts us in a position of power.

Are you still there? Feeling okay?

Okay, now that you have recovered and are busily preparing your typing fingers to give me a serve and say, “nope, not me buddy”, allow me to explain.

I had a conversation with a colleague the other day about a complex client problem. And we discussed just how hard it was to even understand the issue when we needed to get past so much jargon.

This got me thinking, why do we use jargon?

By the way, I include me in this too – I’m as guilty as anybody. And the answer was easy – we use jargon because it makes us feel smart, and it empowers us to feel like we know as much as or more than anybody else in the room.

So, let’s get this out of the way:

this does not make you a bad person.

Nor does it make you insecure or does not suggest that you lack emotional intelligence.

Most of the time we do it without any level of self-consciousness.

But it got me thinking about the smart people that I know, who share their knowledge willingly and most importantly are conscious of the language that they use to communicate this. It seems to be me they try to stay away from jargon. It’s more important to them that their message is understood.

So the next time you are about to share some information I’d ask you to stop, think and review.

To stop using jargon, ask yourself these questions:

  • If anybody else were to pick this up and see it, would they understand it?
  • What stories can I tell to bring this to life?
  • Am I framing my thinking in a way that excludes others?
  • Am I using the simplest words possible to describe this information?

For more details about using simple language check out websites like this one.

Or consider investing in some writing coaching or professional development courses.