I’ve just Googled the word JARGON and there are 3 definitions:

Definition one:  the language, especially the vocabulary, peculiar to a particular trade, profession, or group:

Definition two:  unintelligible or meaningless talk or writing; gibberish.

Definition three:  any talk or writing that one does not understand.

I personally like the second one – ‘meaningless talk or writing’  – because that is what I feel about jargon used ANYWHERE!!

Over the last couple of months, I’ve noticed how much jargon is used in various parts of my life.

I’ve recently taken up golf and it’s amazing the amount of words spoken that – before I started playing – I would not have had a clue about.  Words like ‘air shot’ ‘topped it’  ‘divots’  ‘address the ball’  (Sir or Madam??) ‘tee time’…………I could go on.  And when you get a word wrong the looks of shock and horror that you get are unbelievable.  I once called my 5 wood a 5 iron – well you might have thought I’d called the wrath of Allah on my head the looks I got.

I felt distinctly:  uncomfortable

I then started working with a client who does printing and into my vocabulary had to come words like ‘stock’, ‘font’ ‘pantone’ ‘proof’ – and many more.  Sitting in a sales meeting with the sales personnel was a bit like having a cup of tea with Martians.  They could hold a full conversation for a full 5 minutes without me understanding EXACTLY what they said

I felt distinctly:  thick

Then I worked with a client who insisted on calling all his products and services by their short Internet code. So when talking to a prospect he’d say to me ‘They’re a great prospect for the T4298’ and I’d find cryptic notes coming through by email advising the C609a had been updated to include XYZ.  Not only did I have to check what he was talking about, I had to then read the jargon on the Internet

I felt distinctly:  excluded

Worse still is the TWA (three word acronym) which abounds in all realms of life.  My daughters hit the teenage years with an abundance of mobile phone terminology.  LOL, BTW, TTYL, BRB are examples of a few……but there are loads more!

I felt distinctly:  isolated

A trainee on a Presentation Skills course I recently ran claimed that ‘jargon excluded people’ which is a very good saying, because if you’re going to sell or deliver excellent customer service, there is no place for jargon.

People like to understand what you’re talking about – they want you to use simple terms that they can understand.  If you’re not sure how much they know – ask them – ‘I want to help you with this, however I need to check how much you understand before I start ………..can I ask a few questions please?’   Then check their understanding of some words.

Jargon is a killer of good communication – use it sparingly!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to celebrate a friends’ 60th birthday – BTW it’ll be a great laugh LOL