I’d like to share a presentation skills tip with you.
Now this final tip about the voice actually focuses more on the content rather than the delivery strangely enough. But I want to include it here under voice and it is about language and in particular jargon.
Now I have a real passion about this.
I have a passion about plain English or plain Spanish or plain German or whatever. I like to understand what I am listening to.
What is jargon anyway? It is like a professional shorthand between fellow professionals – at its best one accountant can talk to another accountant in language that I will never understand or want to understand because I am not an accountant, likewise between one engineer and another engineer. That is it when it is used at its best but mostly it is used when people are too lazy to think of a plain English or French or Russian or German equivalent.
But also it is used to exclude people -“If you don’t know what I am talking about ,then you are not part of my club” or worse still “You are not professional enough”. In my mind this is just horse poo. That does not mean you talk simplistically – but just please take out all the banker’s speaker, teacher’s speak, IT speak and make it nice and simple and plain.
A useful rule of thumb for this is if you imagine your audience are 16 years old – but really bright and intelligent 16 year olds – with a very low boredom threshold and know very little about what you do. If you can keep the attention of intelligent low boredom threshold sixteen year olds you are doing pretty well.
That I would say applies from the top to the bottom, literally. So just because you are talking to senior people don’t think you have to use a lot of jargon – quite the reverse keep the language plain…. and people will like you for it.