What the ABC!
Have you ever watched TV and payed attention to the jargon used in shows like ER or The West Wing? Maybe you've heard cut-throat lawyers ramble off in court or during arrest scenes like the cast of Law in Order: SVU or Criminal Minds. Terminology is crucial in the business world and it is important to use the proper words when trying to effectively communicate. Also it is important to know that when moving from industry-to-industry words may develop new meanings. Here are some contemporary examples of why terminology is important.
The Guardian’s List of Jargon
According to the Guardian.com’s list of business terminology, a poison pill is not a liquid capsule designed to take the lives of forbidden lovers, but rather, “a provision made by a company to deter takeovers.” Zombie funds are not for financing creatures of Romero. They are “with-profits funds that have closed new business, so called because they are neither fully alive nor dead.” Depression, that little internal storm cloud that causes so many problems for Americans, also has an economical application such as, “economic downturn more severe and prolonged than a recession.”
What Not to Say
Greg Lacour, author of 10 Pieces of Business Jargon That Suck from Brand Journalists.com, explains why terminology is important regarding situations where the words might seem unnecessary or problematic. He advises that people avoid using the phrase “strategic planning” because goals and planning are by definition strategic. Instead of using the phrase “siloed” to describe your department it is better to say, “our departments are isolated.” Lacour says there is no reason to use farm language to describe your business environment because it leads to images of a “bucolic cattle farm in Wisconsin.”
Boundless.com says that miscommunication, “happens when there is a disconnect between what is being said and what is being heard.” The site continues to say that miscommunication frequently occurs when a message appears to be too complex when the information can be simplified or if the words that are used are for a different targeted audience. Also the site continues to say that message overload occurs when there are too many messages being delivered at the same time. So in other words avoid technical language if speaking to a general audience or at least define business terminology so your listeners understand exactly what is being communicated.