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We all use it, and many of us hate it, especially when others use it.  Jargon makes us feel stupid.  Often we believe that others use it to either confuse us or show us how smart they are.

I find that most of the time neither is true.  It’s very simple; people use jargon because it’s shorthand for a much longer explanation.

I often use the term passive ownership.  Yes, this is likely jargon and many people don’t know what it means.  So when I use the term I try to remember to give a short description of what I mean.  (Passive ownership is when a business owner is not involved in the day-to-day operations of their business and their business has been systemized.)

Once I explain what my piece of jargon means I can then reuse it in an article or report I’m writing and save myself a great deal of time.  The same is true when I talk with someone and jargon is more descriptive than the long explanation.

The problem comes when someone uses jargon and they don’t bother to define it.  Even worse if they’re asked what their jargon means and they don’t have a clear explanation for what their jargon means.

I’ve come to believe that during communication it is always the responsibility of the communicator to be clear.  We must realize that the meaning of our communication is the way it’s received, not the way we intended it be received.  The person who counts when it comes to telling us what we said is the person we’re speaking with or the person who’s reading our writing.

My recommendation is to follow these rules when using jargon:

  • Use it as little as possible.
  • When you use jargon, make sure you explain what it means.
  • When appropriate, tell the person your communicating with why using this particular piece of jargon is useful.

I’m not expecting to see a revolution in the use of jargon.  In fact, I fully expect the use of jargon to continue to grow and for the most part be out of control.  Which brings me back to my opening line, I hate jargon.  What about you?

Josh Patrick

I’ve written a special report on Understanding The Stage Of Your Business.  Although there is a little jargon in stage names, I think this report is a good example of using jargon and then explaining why I believe it’s important.  You might even get a good idea or two from it.  To get this report, click on the button below.


Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc. (NFPSI), Member FINRA/SIPC. Stage 2 Planning Partners and NFPSI are not affiliated.

This article is published for residents of the United States only.  Registered Representatives and Investment Adviser Representatives of NFP Securities, Inc. may only conduct business with residents of the states and jurisdictions in which they are properly registered.  Therefore, a response to a request for information may be delayed.  Not all of the products and services referenced on this site are available in every state and through every representative or advisor listed.

Topics: jargon, mission vision values and goals, communication, vision

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