Dump the Jargon: Communicate Simply in 2014

It’s no secret I am not a fan of jargon!

Our corporate Hostetler Public Relations website even has images all over it to poke fun at public relations jargon. Since we’ve come up with those images and corny phrases, many more words and phrases have come into play in the professional communications and business word set. Can we all just say what we mean?

In a new poll of more than 500 marketing professionals, “synergy” tops the list of their most despised buzzwords, beating out “viral” (one of my most despised) and “best-in-class.” The poll is part of Webmarketing123′s 2013 State of Digital Marketing survey.

A recent Wall Street Journal article cites CEOs and the words they want to see go. Love it! Here are a few more.

  • Solution-Everyone has one no matter what industry, product or service their organization provides. This has been one of my long-time words on the do not use list. Find a better word.
  • Content Management-This is a term made up by marketers. It’s something us PR professionals have been managing for years—a client’s message. I researched the term to find out where it originated. I discovered it’s actually and IT term. It makes more sense in that profession.
  • Hashtag – I hear this term used in every day sentences. It’s a Twitter term. Let’s keep it where it belongs.
  • Offline – During meetings I hear people say, “Let’s talk about this offline.” Ummm… we’re in a meeting, not on the internet. That’s what I always hear in my head. How about, let’s talk about this later?
  • Viral – I know what it means in the business sense, but ICK! Viral means getting sick. I thought we want to communicate online and share the message without getting people sick.
  • Reach Out – I always see someone literally reaching out for me with their hands instead of just contacting me when this term is used.
  • Out of the Box–Another great image and another bad use of jargon. How about using new idea instead?

Over the years I’ve worked with several clients to help them understand they’re often using their own business terms to try to explain and/or sell a produce or service. As a result, people are confused, frustrated and simply not happy. So here’s my  resolution in the New Year: communicate simply. I hope you’ll join me.


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