May 6, 2013 By FTI Consulting
The reality of modern mass communication and the instant news cycle has had a dramatic impact on the way leaders connect with followers; today, anybody with a public persona needs exceptional communications skills.
We understand why executives use industry jargon –as a speaker, it makes you feel like an insider with enviable knowledge and experience. You might even think that audiences want to hear jargon because it assures them that you “speak the language” of a certain industry; indeed speaking in jargon has likely already become second nature by the time you’re an executive.
Of course, using jargon during a conversation with a colleague or at an internal meeting often makes sense, but when speaking to or writing for a broad audience, jargon is confusing and typically comes across as arrogant. Trust us, for as many people as you think you might be impressing, there is an equal or greater number of people who are tuning out of your message.
Creating clear, jargon-free content doesn’t make a person look like an amateur; on the contrary, we’d make the case that the best communicators are the easiest to understand. Even stating the obvious is a good idea – we like how the Financial Times, the international banking bible, consistently mentions that interest rates move inversely to prices when reporting on bonds.
Here are a few guidelines to check whether your content, be it a speech, a blog post or a press release, is clear of jargon:
In our media training sessions, we work with executives and spokespeople to hone these skills and help to make their communications clear, concise and impactful. This often means tackling bad habits, and using industry jargon is one of hardest to break. Even the most experienced and media-savvy of executives are guilty.
If you’re looking for further insight on communicating clearly, we encourage you to get in touch with us.
What are some of your favourite TLAs? What buzzwords should be banned from corporate speak? Let us know in the comments.