Jargon & Clichés – Just Low-Hanging Fruit

WRITTEN August 4, 2016 Author: Rich Atkins

When jargon and clichés are used to the point of being meaningless, they waste time and effort, and sometimes just add to the confusion.

Let’s “touch base” on the concept of JARGON. Words and expressions like “synergy,” “leverage,” and “deep dive” get so much overuse that they become worthless, and end up slowing us down. Sometimes this corporate slang is so popular that it can be almost like a second language to those in the field – but your customers can get confused.

When in doubt, simplify.

It is a real “game changer” to be “kept in the loop” when you have enough “bandwidth” to take the project on. But, if there is an issue, we will “circle back” and “drill down” to see how to “trim the fat” ahead of the “drop dead” delivery date.

“At the end of the day,” it can be said that clichés have a use, but sparingly and only in the proper context. Clichés can paint a picture for the audience, using metaphors or images — often quite cleverly — to give the audience a better concept of the message.

Be careful, clichés are clichés because they are often overused, and can be stale. It seems like a shortcut with a clear meaning, however it may not be as understood as you thought. “Bottom line,” know your audience. It is much better to have a smile and a nod of the head, instead of a roll of the eyes.

Another problem with using jargon and cliches is the global market that we live in. Your customers and coworkers may not speak your language, literally. Learning English is difficult. But throwing jargon and clichés “into the mix” is a complication that your business may not need.

“We need to give 110% to create a win-win situation. It’s about going from good to great.” (Ugh!)

Communicate accurately and appropriately. If possible, stay away from jargon and clichés, unless of course you are Jim Steinman, writing all those hit songs for Meatloaf (and many others). He relied on clichés because they are familiar. So if you are writing pop songs, use all the clichés you’d like! In the office, whether writing or speaking, stay away from trite and overused words and expressions.

To illustrate the point further, we have some reading material that was pointed out to us by one of our readers. It is an article by Ambrose Clancy appearing in the Long Island Business News, called “Too Much Jargon, Cliches in Business.”  It’s (“from good to”) great!

This information is from the Effective Business Writing class as well as our Public Speaking class. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of OUR PUBLIC CLASSES.
Image by Gary Scott from Pixabay

Other Resources for Jargon and Cliches

Cliches, Jargon, and Redundant Language

6 Examples of Corporate Jargon That You Should Stop Using Now

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