I’ve just received an email from a media owner.  It’s full of jargon.  When I replied asking them to simplify it so that I could understand it, their response confused me even more.  I’m now questioning whether they even know what they are trying to sell.  So it got me thinking about the way that we communicate with our clients and customers.

 

There are laymen and specialists in every field. All of us are laymen in most areas. We won’t fix your plumbing (if you know what’s good for you) and when we need a plumber we want them to sort out our issue – letting us know the problem while not drowning us in incomprehensible words (or, obviously, water).

 

We know how important it is to not use restrictive language. It hides knowledge behind a layer of words that only the specialists have access to. Orwell wrote about it in 1984, where he realised that organisations (governments in his example), used Doublespeak to obfuscate; the more hidden the meaning, the harder to describe, the better to prevent meaning or knowledge being shared.

 

This isn’t about us and them. We want you to understand what we are doing (and why), without needing to spend ten years learning how to do it yourself.

 

By James Robinson