Avoid Jargon To Increase Accessibility
Jargon refers to language that is specific to a particular field or profession and is often unintelligible to those outside of that field. While it can serve as a convenient shorthand for experts in a particular area, it can also be a significant barrier to communication and understanding for those who are not familiar with the terminology. This can be particularly problematic in fields that impact people’s lives, such as healthcare, law, and finance, where jargon can obscure important information and prevent people from making informed decisions. In this article, we will explore the importance of avoiding jargon and offer tips for increasing accessibility in communication.
Why Is Jargon a Problem?
Jargon can be a problem in a variety of contexts, from healthcare to academia to the workplace. Here are a few reasons why it can be particularly problematic:
- It creates a barrier to understanding. When people encounter jargon they don’t understand, they may feel confused, frustrated, or excluded from the conversation. This can lead to misunderstandings, errors, and missed opportunities.
- It can be intimidating. Jargon can make people feel like they are not smart enough to participate in a conversation or understand a topic, which can be particularly intimidating in professional or academic settings.
- It can obscure important information. When people use jargon instead of plain language, they may unintentionally obscure important information or make it difficult for others to understand the implications of their message.
- It can be exclusionary. When people use jargon in communication, it can make it difficult for those outside of a particular field to participate in discussions or make informed decisions. This can be particularly problematic in contexts where decisions have real-world consequences, such as healthcare or finance.
Tips for Increasing Accessibility
Here are a few tips for increasing accessibility in communication by avoiding jargon:
- Know your audience. When you are communicating with others, it is important to consider their level of familiarity with the topic you are discussing. If you are speaking with experts in your field, it may be appropriate to use technical language, but if you are speaking with a general audience, it is important to use plain language.
- Use plain language. Plain language refers to language that is clear, concise, and easy to understand. When you are communicating with others, it is important to use plain language whenever possible. This means avoiding technical jargon and using simple, everyday language that most people will understand.
- Define technical terms. If you do need to use technical language, be sure to define the terms you are using so that others can understand them. This can be particularly important in fields like healthcare or law, where technical terms may be used frequently.
- Avoid acronyms. Acronyms can be confusing and difficult to remember, particularly if they are not commonly used. If you need to use an acronym, be sure to define it the first time you use it and then use it consistently throughout your communication.
- Use analogies and examples. When you are trying to explain a complex concept, it can be helpful to use analogies or examples to make it more concrete and relatable. This can help people understand the concept more easily and remember it better.
- Test your communication. Before you send an email, write a report, or give a presentation, take the time to review your communication and ask yourself if it is accessible to your audience. If you have colleagues or friends who are not familiar with the topic, consider asking them to review your communication and provide feedback.
- Avoid cultural or regional slang. It is important to remember that not everyone speaks the same language or shares the same cultural references. Avoiding cultural or regional slang can help ensure that your communication is accessible to a broader audience.