Ditch the jargon, before your audience ditches you

If you’re ever going to hear people using words that make the hair stand up on your neck, it’s likely to be in marketing or PR.

The technology space, too, is not without blame (maybe it’s the predominantly US heritage). If you’ve ever sat on a global conference call, there’s every chance you’re a seasoned W***-Word Bingo champion. I know I am.

Of course, workplace jargon is not just geographical or industry-specific, because at one time or another, all of us are guilty of reaching into the b*ll*cksphere when we’re lazily looking for the right marketing words to describe our business, products and clients.

Talking from the perspective of a specialist in B2B tech PR, here’s some of the entertaining feedback I’ve had over the years from journalists asking me to politely “not infect my inbox with that garbage.” And that’s putting it nicely.

Want my top five?

I’ll ping them over to you right now.

  1. As above: Pinging? What does that even mean? It’s either a sharp high pitch sound or a computer protocol – neither of which are appropriate when it comes to a person sending something across.
  2. Unnecessary exaggeration: It’s quite unique – no it isn’t – it is either a complete one off (unlikely), or it is the first. I was also once “so fired” by a client (a quite unique experience I have to admit to, given said client hadn’t approved a single piece of content which made my job impossible. I was so not impressed by that.)
  3. End to end solution – one of the oldest and the worst, just get me a bucket. I had hoped this would have been scrubbed out of the dictionary by now, but I still hear it often from tech marketers. It just means you can’t describe what your product actually does.
  4. Cutting-edge or ground-breaking or bleeding-edge – really? NO! It’s like you telling me how funny you are. Show, not tell!
  5. Think outside the box – I hate anyone who even suggests this. End of.

Key takeaways? (Is that one?) Just say it as it is. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid, unless you want people to choke on what you’re telling them.