sharon tanton portrait

Untangling difficult messages

picture of ball of tangled wool

So your project is crucial, but it’s not straightforward. People glaze over when you try and explain it to them. Not good.

Perhaps you’re too close to it. Maybe you’ve fallen into that dark place we call the jargon trap. The place where words get tangled, jargon creeps in, and meaning evaporates.

Jargon is like mumbling. Sorry, what did you say?
It stops people from understanding you.

Even the most complicated business message can be written in beautiful plain English. It’s the opposite of dumbing down.

I can help you untangle your message,
and write it in the appropriate language for your audience. Speak loudly and clearly.


  • 1
    November 30, 2010 - 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Sharon, thanks for the thought-provoking blog. I like the comparison with mumbling, it’s helpful. However, it might also be useful to think about how jargon is even more damaging than mumbling. With a mumble, most people will ask you to repeat what you said…

    However, with jargon most people will just feel confused, but say nothing. People just starting out don’t ask because they think they’ll look inexperienced and silly. Senior people, even Board, may not pipe up because they think they should know what you’re saying and don’t want to expose their ignorance, or just think you’re talking rubbish and ignore you. The lesson in this for us all is two-fold. As the speaker, ask for feedback from an objective third party on whether what we’re saying makes sense. And, as the receiver, pipe up when we don’t understand.

    Indeed, I think that inappropriate use of jargon contributes significantly to unhealthy relationships between sales, finance and marketing teams in many businesses. Check out my blog on the subject here if you’re interested:

  • 2
    December 1, 2010 - 11:44 am | Permalink

    HI Bryony

    Thanks for thoughtful comment – really useful ideas here.

    Jargon is a barrier to communication – you’re right that people sometimes don’t like to admit they don’t understand. And sometimes people hide behind jargon to disguise their own lack of knowledge.

    Often it becomes institutionalised jargon – everyone in an organisation will use it without thinking – which is fine until they have to speak to someone in the outside world, and then they can’t make themselves clearly understood.

    Stamp it out, that’s what I say! Write clearly using real words that we all understand.

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