Start making sense

Convince reviewers to abandon jargon

Richard Teerlink, chairman of Harley-Davidson, stands in front of a screen showing a bicep emblazoned with his company’s logo.

Start making sense

What’s wrong with this picture? We don’t call them tattoos any more. Now they’re “dermatological graphics.” Image by Stlukesguild1

“We don’t call them tattoos any more,” he told his audience. Instead, he said, they are now “dermatological graphics.”

Of course you don’t, Mr. Teerlink.

Just like we don’t call it a company, talking, hiring consultants or coming up with ideas any more. Now they’re the enterprise, interfacing, utilizing change agents and ideation.

Jargon. Buzzwords. Acronyms. They’re things that make your reader go “huh?” And we need to get them out of our copy.

But you know that.

For many communicators, the biggest obstacle to writing clearly isn’t that they don’t know how to get the gobbledygook out. It’s that their approvers love the gobbledygook.

So here’s a list of reasons to avoid jargon. Use it to convince your most incomprehensible colleagues that jargon not only hinders communication, it also hurts business.


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“Never impose your language on people you wish to reach.”
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Slice through your message To reach readers, cut through the jargon, buzzwords and gobbledygook. Image by Deanna Wardin

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