Many an article has been written expounding the disadvantages of business jargon (that is to say, hating on it isn’t exactly a net-new phenomenon). It’s a waste of time and space, it smacks of exclusion (e.g. only those “in the know” will understand), and frankly, it’s annoying as hell.
And yet, jargon remains as ubiquitous a presence in business meetings and correspondence as ever. So, we thought we’d quickly circle back to a few of the reasons business jargon is not a value add — it's quite the opposite.
1. Business jargon fails to move the needle toward communication clarity.
It does, however, move many people’s needle toward extreme annoyance. Disambiguate already!
2. It’s low-hanging fruit.
By peppering in work-isms, it may feel as though you’re adding in extra dash of “I Know What I’m Talking About” oomph to the point you’re trying to make. More than likely, though, you’re diluting that point by cushioning it in “safe” but ultimately empty terms.
3. It’s much harder to synergize when everyone is using double-speak.
It’s tricky to ensure everyone is on the same page when what is literally on that page is vague jargon. The actual transfer implied by “knowledge transfer” can become fraught if it’s thus riddled, and disconnects abound. See the potential for pain points here?
4. Your use of jargon isn’t scalable.
You’re going to eventually work your way up toward using, what, a 5:1 rate of jargon versus actual language? This has to end somewhere. It doesn’t scale!
5. If jargon is seen as one of your core competencies, people may feel less inclined to assign you action items.
Bandwidths are tight. Balls are in the air. The people need to execute, and if you’re hogging valuable meeting time by extrapolating upon methodologies with jargon-filled speak, getting your colleagues’ buy-in for your go-forward plans may be harder.
6. It isn’t helping you sound like a thought leader.
What paradigm shift was ever truly accomplished through the use of jargon? To be seen as someone who’s capable of pushing the envelope, try communicating with, you know, your own words instead.
7. And, with all due respect, it isn’t helping your overall corporate culture, either.
If the inauthenticity of business jargon feels especially baked into your work’s ecosystem, people who crave a more genuine work environment may start touching base with other potential employers. There’s a business case here, too.
So, what our next steps and key takeaways?
Stop jumping the shark and lean away from over-reliance on business jargon in your everyday work conversations and correspondence. It may be mission-critical that you do.
Someone Who Isn’t Themselves Guilty of Using Jargon, Ever