You’ve heard it said before…avoid using lingo or jargon in your writing to anyone outside your industry. Whether you’re writing a sales letter to a new prospect or promoting your business in a printed brochure or on the Web, be clear…so you can be understood.
Dictionary.com defines jargon as:
- The language, esp. the vocabulary, peculiar to a particular trade, profession, or group: medical jargon.
- Unintelligible or meaningless talk or writing; gibberish.
- Any talk or writing that one does not understand.
- Language that is characterized by uncommon or pretentious vocabulary and convoluted syntax and is often vague in meaning.
Any way you look at it, you don’t want your prospect or client to be confused. You want to have a clear message using specifics that your reader can relate to – and prompt him or her to take action.
Of course, I knew all this. But when I was asked recently what “copy” meant (after reading the message I wrote) I realized I was using my own industry jargon. The words “copy” and “copywriting” were unclear. They are used within my industry but for someone outside, it was a stumbling block.
Here’s your challenge…read through all your promotional material. Do you see any words that may be gibberish to someone else? Now give your letters, brochures, Web site, etc. to someone outside your industry and get a second opinion. You may learn your own lingo lesson.