The Write Way

A Bad Case of Jargonitis

Man writing on padIf you're used to seeing company writing that is full of terms like data-driven, win-win, actionable, and synergies, then quickly call the doctor! Sounds like your business has a bad case of jargon poisoning.

Jargon, clichés, and an overabundance of acronyms in business documents turn content into a stiff, confusing mess. Jargon may alienate your audience quickly. Furthermore, jargon makes translation extremely difficult and expensive. Learn how to find and destroy this type of writing.

What do you mean?
Jargon is the words or phrases that a particular profession or group tends to use but which others find difficult to understand. In contrast, clichés are usually understood by the majority of readers but have been used so often that they now seem trite. Some grammar-check programs will point out jargon. To spot it on your own, simply look for words or phrases that are either overly technical or don't truly mean anything. Think of phrases such as "boots on the ground" (meaning "to have people in place") or "going forward" (meaning "from now on"), or “it is important to note” (a phrase that adds no value).

Everyday English
Now that you've located jargon, how can you eliminate it? Try these tips:

This isn't to say that you can't use metaphors or creative imagery in your writing. Just remember George Orwell’s advice: "Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print."

Hurley Write, Inc. offers technical and business writing tips to help you create engaging writing that clearly communicates your message to readers.

Writing clear, concise, jargon-free content is a learned skill like any other. Practice it and watch your writing improve. Contact Hurley Write toll-free at 877-24-WRITE (877-249-7483) or by email for more information about our training courses.

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