Jargon refers to special words or expressions used by a particular group: they may be hard for people outside that group to understand. In copywriting, we're taught to avoid jargon; however there's a place for it.
A problem can arise when we're so used to using our industry terminology and it's become such a part of our everyday way of expressing ourselves, that we don't realize that we may be losing our readers.
When DO you use jargon?
Do your readers or listeners all belong to a specific industry or type of business?
In that case, it's OK. Everyone will understand you. If you're a real estate agent and your audience consists of real estate agents, they'll expect you to use industry vocabulary, otherwise it may look as if you don't know your field.
Similarly, while ordinary folks talk about a "heart attack", if you're a doctor speaking to an audience of doctors, they'll probably expect you to use the term "myocardial infarction ".
Are you writing for a general audience?
In this case, Industry terms will run off their backs like water off a duck. You lose their attention because they have no idea what you're talking about; they're too busy scratching their heads trying to figure it out to read or listen any further.
Or they'll read on but not understand what you're saying because they missed a key concept.
I recently read a piece by a real estate agent where she talked about a Trustee's Deed. Although I could guess at what this meant, I didn't understand it exactly. A one-sentence explanation of the term would have been sufficient to keep my attention.
When you explain complicated concepts in layman's terms, your audience comes along with you.
But If you go above their heads, they'll simply tune you out.
Do your materials use jargon? I'll cast an eye over them for you. Contact me by email at Maggie@MyMarketingMessage.com or at 805 965 9173 and let's talk.
Copyright 2017 Maggie Dennison