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Business Jargon: What Does This Sign Mean (I Don’t Know)


Brunette woman with letters floating out of her mouth

“Dump the technospeak. Nobody understands it.” Joyce Bustinduy, global publisher, Levi Strauss & Company

I couldn’t help it. I was so puzzled I had to stop and take a picture. It was a sign from a local church, and it read WERC EOM.


Huh?


I stood there, tilting my head this way and that (like that would help) trying different variations to come up with what I thought those letters could mean. In the end, I gave up.


This sign spoke a language that only a precious few people understood! And I wasn’t one of them.


An even bigger question is, why put it on a public sign? Save this message for the church bulletin. The congregation will understand this baffling group of letters.


Why Business Jargon Prevents Sales


Let’s admit it right up front. America loves acronyms and abbreviations. SCOTUS, POTUS, ICYMI, BTW, and don’t get me started on emojis!


We speak shorthand, but worse, we speak insider language. You know, that shorthand only your business knows, full of acronyms, abbreviations, and insider slang. It’s convenient for you and your employees, but for the rest of us? Not so much.


When you speak in acronyms and abbreviations, you assume your audience knows what you’re talking about. It’s a familiar world to you, so it’s comfortable.


But to your audience it’s just confusing. That’s why every website—every piece of marketing—should be written in the customer’s language.

  • Use words your audience easily understands.

  • Keep the wording straightforward. Forget clever.

Using business jargon with your audience is an effective way to lose sales and customers.


And that’s the problem.


How Chickens Confused the Hell Out of Me


Business jargon isn’t confined to just the traditional business world. Here’s another example. My Farmer Husband gets The Livestock Conservancy, a magazine focused on conserving rare breeds.


Usually, I enjoy this publication. Then I got to the article on “Upgrading Poultry Enclosures.” Here’s what the author said in the second paragraph:


“I took a class and became certified as a(n) NPIP tester in Spring 2021…”

I read on, thinking surely she would tell me what a certified NPIP tester is. Nope. How can I understand why this is important to her business if I don’t know what an NPIP tester is? It was confusing and I lost interest in the story.


Your customers will lose interest in your service if they can’t understand it.


Keep Your Customer Conversations Relatable


In my own business, because I offer local SEO services, I have to be very careful how I talk with my clients.


SEO terms are often viewed as complicated. When discussing incorporating keywords in copy to help with local SEO rankings, I’m very careful not to use terms without explaining what they mean.


I will also show my client on a computer screen examples of the terms—and how they are used online--so they can “see” what I’m talking about.


The point is, the more inclusive and relatable you are of your clients and customers, the more sales you’ll make. And, you’ll be respected and appreciated which means repeat business.


Because at the end of the day, all your customer really wants is a solution to a problem, not a walking, talking encyclopedia.


And all you want are repeat sales. Don’t let business jargon ruin that for you.


Need help creating a marketing message that your customers can relate to and makes you more money? Let’s chat for 30-minute. It’s on me!






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