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Jargon can be necessary to convey knowledge. But sometimes, when we don’t know what to say, we fall back on jargon to fill space or to sound knowledgeable.

Ann Handley recalls an event at her daughter’s college when the school’s housing director tried to turn a negative into a positive using buzzwords or the jargon.

Someone had asked about utilizing rooms intended for two students to house three (“a forced triple”) in the case of too many entering students. The reply from the school’s representative, was simply, according to Ms. Handley, “Ah, yes. But we call that expanded occupancy units.”

While these words may be accepted by the “sales” team (or housing directory in this case), people saw through the spin which created a negative impression and evoked feelings of distrust.

Think carefully about the jargon  you use. What you say isn’t necessarily what people hear.

Learn more about when and how to use jargon in your content from Ann Handley in “Why Jargon Can Be Detrimental to Your Brand Voice & Tone.”

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