- A writer who really understands the information can translate it accurately into lay language.
- So you think big words make you look intelligent? Think again.
- Powerful Keys to Effective Listening
- Enhancing Self Esteem
- Communicating Assertively
Neita F. Geilker, Ph.D., “Grammar Guru”, is an adult educator, with an imaginative and enthusiastic approach to grammar and usage. She has been helping small to mid-sized organizations, transforming “best-kept secrets” into “best-known entities.”
An award-winning public relations consultant, has served clients ranging from three-person start-ups to Fortune 1,000 companies, especially in the technology, healthcare and not-for-profit areas.
We have helped these organizations differentiate themselves and communicate more effectively with the media, analysts, employees, business partners and other audiences. We have successfully generated coverage for virtually unknown companies, sometimes before they have sold a single product.
We’re not talking flash or hype, but solid, strategic “one-stop shopping” PR and communications assistance that can unleash the potential of your organization and get you the coverage you deserve.
We get the word out…so you can get the leads in.
Start Making Sense: How To Remove Gobbledygook, Buzzwords, Businessese, Techno Babble, Jargon and Other Gibberish from Your Copy
After reading yet another article describing the “robust, scalable, next-generation solution,” I started drafting an article about avoiding jargon. Fortunately, “We don’t call them tattoos anymore,” said Richard Teerlink, chairman of Harley-Davidson, as the screen behind him showed a bicep emblazoned with what he called a “dermatological graphic” of the Milwaukee motorcycle maker’s familiar symbol.
Just like we don’t call it “a company,” “talking,” “hiring consultants” or “coming up with ideas” anymore. Now they’re “the enterprise,” “interfacing,” “utilizing change agents” and “ideation.”
Jargon. Buzzwords. Acronyms. They’re things that make your reader go “huh?” And we need to get them out of our copy.
“Bad terminology is the enemy of good thinking,” writes Warren Buffett, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Plain English Handbook. “When companies or investment professionals use terms such as ‘EBITDA’ and ‘pro forma,’ they want you to unthinkingly accept concepts that are dangerously flawed.”
That’s why the best communicators are translators. They translate the language of our organizations into the language of our readers.
Avoid buzzword backlash
Translating jargon has never been more important. People are livid about the amount of jargon and buzzwords writers use these days.
You’ve seen the Dilbert cartoons where the staff plays Buzzword Bingo against the pointy-haired boss.
Perhaps you’re also aware of the rants metro daily editors write about releases that are so discombobulating that even beat reporters can’t follow them.
Five other reasons to translate jargon
If you need more reasons to translate the gibberish in your copy, consider that jargon: Makes your copy longer. Good communicators cut through the clutter in their copy. Forces the reader to work harder. Isn’t it your job to translate jargon so your reader doesn’t have to?
Illustrates that your organization may be in trouble. There may be a link between jargon and poor business performance, In one test, “Bullfighter,” software program that tests copy for jargon and muddy language, showed that now-bankrupt energy trader Enron’s language became more and more obscure as the company got deeper into trouble. Demonstrates your ignorance. “When people don’t understand the material, they tend to go more with the original, often too-technical and undigested information from a primary source,” says Neita F. Geilker, Ph.D., “A writer who really understands the information can translate it accurately into lay language.” So you think big words make you look intelligent? Think again.
Books by Neita F. Geilker, Ph.D.