Jargon is not a sign of intellect. And it doesn't impress anyone. Maybe like me, you're suspicious of anything that doesn't immediately read clearly and make sense?
I'm not a particularly cynical person, but the minute I'm on the receiving end of jargon - especially legal jargon, I'm instantly concerned that I'm about to miss something important in what's really being communicated. And then I get anxious.
Sadly, a lot of the time, we're all guilty of lapsing into jargon, without even meaning to do so! Or when we are aware of it, we accept it because as businesses, that's just how it's always done (or there's no time or resource to change things so it'll have to be good enough); or because as consumers, we feel there's no point getting clarification, even if it was easy to do, because we've not got the bargaining weight to change anything anyway.
So the few businesses that don't use jargon, really stand out. The ones that make things simple and that use everyday language up-front are those that we tend to trust most.
Not using jargon shouldn't be a point of competitive distinction. Honest selling, by definition, means everyone understands the terms of a deal and nobody feels bamboozled or baffled or worse, hoodwinked.
Hiding things in 'the small print' is what the shysters do, isn't it? Allowing the small print to swallow up important detail is not quite dishonest, but not that much better.
And to all those who say it can't be done and that lots of long and complex detail is essential and explanations or documents (including legal ones) can't be shortened, I'd say that's simply not true. I've proved it many times myself, without compromise or risk for anyone concerned.
The approach taken by the lawyer below is not just refreshing, it perfectly illustrates the difference in consumer reactions and choices when we're properly empowered to understand what we're being told and/or how we're being treated.
The example below relates to teenagers and their understanding of Instagram's terms and conditions. But the study and outcome are equally applicable to consumers of any product, of any age and in relation to any communication (legal or otherwise) made to them about it.
I've spent over 20 years training others to keep things simple and concise, to always explain clearly and to be 100% open about what's involved and what comes next. The results are always the same: faster, better business and stronger, longer relationships benefitting everyone involved.
The group ran Instagram’s terms and conditions through a readability study and found that it registered at a postgraduate reading level, Afia said. She was tasked with rewriting the company’s terms and conditions “in plain English.” It took her several hours, she said. “It was doable,” Afia said. “But it was quite taxing and definitely time-consuming.”