Many think that a simple style often reflects a simple mind.

Every sector or profession is mired in jargon and the overuse of “professional speak”. I’ve worked with many of them, and not one is immune from this virus. And it’s getting worse.



Offices and board rooms are overrun with people who believe they need to show street cred –  and use industry jargon to be taken seriously.

Jargon wordcloud by Gavin Llewellyn

Jargon by Gavin Llewellyn

….Structural deficits, strategic frameworks, structured products, negative growth, basis points, portals, platforms…..


When we hear phrases like that, it can sap the will to live.


Why do so many feel they need to talk like this?

This is my take on it – see if any resonate with you:

  • They wish to establish street cred and show that they are on the inside track / in the know / speak the lingo
  • They want to exclude others….as being outside the club or not “professional” enough
  • They are too lazy to think of a plain word or phrase that means the same thing


It’s a fallacy.


Think of some of great communicators ….. Barack Obama, David Cameron, Tony Blair, Martin Luther King, Billy Graham, Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George, Monty Don, Maya Angelou, David Attenborough, Malala…..


These very different individuals share one major trait- they avoid jargon. They speak in language that everyone can understand. Their thoughts, words and passion are understood by all.


Here’s a quick self-administered test- “your mission… should you choose to accept it”

Take your last presentation… whether it be formal or informal …. to just one individual or to many, and answer these questions.

  • Would your partner/husband/wife understand it?
  • Would a bright 16-year-old, who knows nothing about your business, understand it?
  • Ask yourself, and be ruthless, do YOU understand every industry term and every three-letter abbreviation?
  • If you’re up for it, pick a friend or colleague – ask them to listen for ANYTHING they don’t understand. Implore and encourage them to be honest- ruthless even.


If you like this way of thinking, and want more, subscribe to the YouTube channel Presentation Maestro.