Jargon

There’s a time and a place for everything. Jargon, as I’m sure you know, is both loved and hated. We all recognise it, especially when discussing something ‘technical’, or when someone is trying to impress us! I’m staggered by those who use it when I meet them for the first time at a networking event. We know we should avoid it in writing and speech, but I argue that it does have its uses. For instance, you would expect your doctor to use relevant terminology (or ‘jargon’) when describing an illness or condition, as this indicates a depth of knowledge. Relevant, technical vocabulary, in these circumstances is the right language to use. The problem comes when people use that vocabulary with people they have never met before, to mystify, bamboozle or glamorise concepts that could be simply explained in plain English. Although my brand of ‘practical business improvement’ prides itself in never using jargon, I will personally tailor my language to the situation. I want the person whom I am conversing with to understand that I know what I am talking about, so I will use relevant terms that I feel will be understood whilst indicating my mastery. The word ‘jargon’ was originally French, but it has been used in English since the 14th century to mean unintelligible or meaningless talk (or nonsense). It was meant to describe something incomprehensible to the human race, similar to┬áthe twittering and tweeting of birds. Of course, we are all tweeting now, if you will excuse the jargon.

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