Today’s evolving technology-driven businesses require simplicity – anyone who cannot explain something, for example a process in very basic terms, may very well not understand it themselves. No one cares how intelligent we sound when we speak, but how our knowledge and expertise translate to solving business problems to achieve a targeted business goal.
I recently attended a virtual technology board meeting. On the agenda was a Smart Cities item of discussion. Smart Cities are often urban areas that maximize use of electronic devices and sensors to collect important data to identify and solve problems – problems like unavailable parking, loitering, traffic congestion and so forth. The technical jargon that was thrown about in this long-winded dialogue would have made a nontechnical person’s head spin. It was a video conferencing cacophony – and about as unpleasant as the sound of fingernails scratching downward on a chalkboard. In an Inc. Magazine editorial, Use Big Words to Sound Smart? More Like Opposite, writer Joshua Spodek goes so far as to say, “Using big words and jargon implies you feel insecure about your intelligence and education.” Spodek adds that the practice makes people sound needy. Now I wouldn’t go that far but certainly there’s something there.
Who’s in the Room?
When we communicate in professional environments, we must remember that each of us comes with our own set of unique experiences, skills, education and training. And because of this, we must also know who’s in the room – who’s our audience. Knowing our audience not only regulates verbiage, but our tone and language used to communicate an idea or message.
Keep It Simple
Some might argue using industry jargon with layman to sound like you know what you’re talking about is a mask for lacking real understanding. Nontechnical business leaders are often so far removed from the rudimentary and more granular nuances of projects they have no choice but to rely on the direction of these hired technology experts. And we can almost be certain that if the captain of the ship is unclear how to reach his destination, so too are the sailors.
Keep your language simple. No one cares how intelligent you sound, but how your knowledge and expertise solves a business problem to achieve a targeted business goal.