New Year, More You In 2 (Weeks)! #3

It's Day 3!

(missed Day 2? You can find it here.)

You're halfway through week 1. Well done! Today we're going to talk about this new-fangled concept that all the kids are raving about...jargon. According to my BFF Merriam-Webster, jargon is:

  1. obscure and often pretentious language marked by circumlocutions and long words

  2. confused unintelligible language

I highlighted these sections because (unlike jargon) they clearly say what jargon is: obscure and unintelligible. And yet, why do we all feel the need to fill our bios with so much of it? If the very concept of jargon is to confuse the reader, why would you use it to try to explain who you are and what you do?

So what do you do exactly?

One thing I always highlight in my presentations and workshops is before and after examples. The reason most of us rely on jargon is twofold:

  1. We think it's required to make us look like we're smart and understand our industry (it's not)

  2. We don't know any other way because this is how it's always been done (it hasn't)

In fact, when I read these examples to audiences, almost no one who isn't familiar with the sample person or industry understands what they do. But more importantly, they don't understand what makes this person different. Why would a recruiter hire them over a similar candidate? Why would a potential client buy from them over a competitor?

Jargon makes you sound like everybody else. And we want to sound like ourselves.

Talk to Grandma

For challenge #3, you're going to describe your job as if you were describing it to your grandmother (or grandfather, niece or nephew).

Why are we doing this? Because Grandma doesn't understand jargon. If you tell your Grandmother that you are a:

"Dynamic program and change management leader with a strong record of successfully delivering sustained results and business change enabled by technology," her head would explode and then she'd smile and pat you on the knee and say, "that's nice dear."

Because honestly, WTF does that even mean?

But if you had to remove all the fancy buzzwords and clearly tell her what you actually do on a day-to-day basis, which is:

"I help to build and manage teams that use technology to help our clients improve their ways of working," she might say "oh, that's interesting, tell me more."

The goal here is to remove the nonsense words and truly try to get to the crux of what you do.

One more quick example: I'm a copywriter, but what I really do is help people create copy that sounds like them.

In other words, try and think about the difference between your title and what you actually do.

That's it.

Easy peasy.

See you tomorrow.

And if your bio is already jargon-free...