Using Industry Jargon Alienates your Audience

One of the worst times to use industry jargon is when you’re presenting at an event. Sure, 80% of the people might know what you’re referring to, but what about the other 20? Is it your goal to have them feel left out? Your potential new clients are most definitely among the folks who don’t know you so you’re effectively alienating them by using terminology with which they are unfamiliar.
You may think that if they don’t know your industry jargon, they’re not your target anyway. Think about that one for a moment. If all you ever do is speak to people who already know you and have a handle on the “industry speak”, are they the ones that need you most? Not likely!

Becoming conscious that you are using shorthand is the first step toward leaving the jargon at the office. I just spoke to a woman yesterday who said that when her boyfriend comes home from work, she has to remind him to leave his “business speak” (BS) at the door because she’s not interested in communicating by buzzword. It’s the same at a networking event. Before you enter the room, take a deep breath and tell yourself that your goal for the evening is to genuinely find out more about the others you meet. You’ll begin to notice others perpetuating your (former) bad habit and you’ll see how it feels. When it happens to you, keep asking, “What does that mean?” until the person becomes more aware himself/herself.

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