The advice to avoid jargon in writing is age-old and common. But it’s also smart.
We send out press releases, blog posts or content aimed at audiences because we want people to actually read and grasp the information and act on it in some way. That can’t happen if they have to struggle, even a little bit, to understand the message.
Knowing we’re supposed to banish jargon is the easy part. Doing it, though, can be excruciatingly hard – especially when a deadline looms.
So, here are 15 of the worst culprits from corporate communication, in my view. These words and phrases should never appear in a press release, email or other tool used to convey information.
Here, too, are suggestions for replacements for each one. The substitutes are not exact synonyms, in many cases. But, they are simple and clear words that could work in place of the jargon. Next time you get stuck and can’t find a way around “mission-critical” just take out this list and try to swap that phrase with something clearer.
- leverage ➙ get, gain, use, pull, win, do, take
- utilize ➙ use, show, fill, take, apply, push, work
- end-user ➙ client, customer, audience, shopper, buyer
- synergy ➙ team, powerful, effective, stronger, more, together
- strategic ➙ smart, sharp, strong, vital, savvy, wise, clever
- best-practice ➙ successful, prime, proven, winning, tested, solid
- mission-critical ➙ main, big, major, central, chief, crucial
- win-win ➙ good, smart, strong, clear, sound, skillful
- value-added ➙ worthwhile, effective, better, helpful, ahead
- ideate ➙ create, think, craft, whir, plan, test, solve
- operationalize ➙ make, do, put, carry, finish, use, see, work
- scalable ➙ grow, expand, wide, more, big, spread, include
- champion ➙ support, push, press, sell, do, spread, lead, guide
- deliverables ➙ results, value, outcome, change, effect
- outside the box ➙ different, bold, striking, unique, brave, exciting
Let me know if these work for you. Also, if jargon isn’t tripping you up as much as writer’s block is, here’s another post to help you break free and get unstuck.