Why Overcomplicate Communications with Jargon?

The world of business (IT especially) is full of jargon.

If you’re nodding your head right now, you might find yourself recognising a situation quite similar to this:

Some Salesforce developer: “We can use the Heroku platform, the SOAP API and poll for the most up to date exchange rates to make sure these are up to date minute by minute.”

You:

Very confused

If you weren’t nodding your head but, instead, are looking at the screen thinking “ah, that jargon speaker is totally me” – maybe it’s time to embrace a little more simplicity when it comes to communication.

We need to customise your Salesforce Service cloud by integrating CTI, make sure that the UX for the service reps is optimised to ensure excellent uptake during UAT and make sure you see a fast ROI from this project

Becomes:

“We suggest rolling out a system that lets you make and receive calls directly from Salesforce. Let’s make sure it’s user friendly during testing as this will improve the efficiency of your reps and make their jobs easier; so you’ll see a measurable return on investment very quickly“

Why do people use jargon?

Sometimes people use jargon out of habit, especially those who are used to being surrounded by other specialists who speak the same profession jargon-y language.

We all do it to some extent in our daily lives, especially those who have particular hobbies – “what do you mean you don’t know what a carabiner is? That’s not just a climbing word, right?”

And then there’s those people who totally know what they are talking about and really need to let you know that they totally know what they are talking about. They let you know this by using overly complicated language you do not understand.

It’s sometimes a bit of a defense mechanism (so they can be forgiven), but sometimes it’s just really, super, amazingly, annoying. If this is you – we get it, you know what you’re doing. Please explain things to us in a simpler way now.

What happens when communication becomes too complicated?

the definition of Jargon

Basically, you allow the possibility of your business partners or clients not understanding what on earth you’re talking about..

Which kind of can be a big problem, especially in business.

This is where mistakes can happen.

Best case scenario:

  • You end up having to explain something more than once to get your point across
  • The person spends a ton of time googling what on earth you’ve been talking about because they’re too embarrassed to say they don’t understand

Worst case scenario:

  • The person your talking to doesn’t want to admit they don’t understand and they just agree, potentially to something that isn’t going to work
  • The person your talking to begins to resent every word you say and your working relationship gets more and more taught with “what are you talking about?!” silent stress.
  • You both get so angry you have an apocalyptic duel and end up taking the whole world out with your jargon-fuelled feud

Multiple explanations, apocalypses – not efficient at all.

Now, we’re not saying to oversimplify everything

There are some things and processes that really can’t, and shouldn’t, be simplified easily. Sometimes it might take more time to painstakingly explain something than it would be to just do the task.

*Tries to explain onboarding process to new Salesforce client*

Old lady waiting 84 years titanic

Be honest with your time, expectation settings, and explanations. Find a balance.

Communication: a balance

Can that jargon-filled nightmare paragraph be transformed into a simple, concise sentence? Yes? Amazing. Do it.

Is a process still too complex to just transform into a bite size information nugget? This is where:

  • Metaphors
  • Imagery
  • Breakdowns
  • Infographic

Become your best friends.

Even something as simple as getting on Skype or meeting in person so you can use hand gestures can be a huge help to get a complicated point across. Using alternative verbal and visual ways to communicate something complex in simpler terms.

And, if you’re the person who doesn’t understand? Speak up. Ask for an alternate explanation. You’ll be amazed at the progress a partnership can make with some communication tweaks:

  • A better understanding of the working partnership
  • Increased efficiency (less re-explaining or confused Googling)
  • Realistic goal setting
  • Not getting super frustrated at each other because you don’t understand what is going on

Did we use any confusing jargon in this article? Tell us off here.