Watch your jargon in business writing

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

Jargon works its way into business writing all the time. It’s important to know when it’s appropriate to use jargon and when it’s better to re-write for clarity. Right Source Mar­­ket­­ing’s Emily Gaines Buchler offers four tips on using jargon correctly.

1.  Differentiate between jargon and buzzwords. Jargon refers to terms that are specific to an industry, technology or organization. It often includes acronyms that users will be familiar with but outsiders may find troublesome. Buzzwords are metaphors all readers will understand. In both cases, use them only occasionally and instead focus on writing that is clear to readers.

2.  Don’t be afraid to explain. If the point of your business writing is to educate or explain, you want to be sure that’s what you’re doing. If you have any doubt that your audience will understand what you’re saying, it’s best to explain what you’re talking about. For example, don’t use acronyms until you’ve first spelled out what they mean.

3.  Offer more information. If you don’t have enough room to explain what you’re talking about, provide links to give the reader more information. This will help keep your writing on point, and readers will be able to look for background if they feel they need it.

4.  Use it correctly. If, after all this, you’re going to use jargon, be sure to use it correctly. Jargon is useful to describe industry-specific events or items, and misusing it will only cause confusion. You will lose credibility as well if you misuse jargon because you’ll sound like an outsider.

— Adapted from “Use Jargon to Educate, Not Obfuscate,” Emily Gaines Buchler, Right Source Marketing.

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