Avoiding the Jargon Trap

Every industry has its jargon; think of those TLAs (three-letter-acronyms) or even FLAs (five-letter-acronyms) in your own sector. On top of this, many organisations have their own internal jargon as well, serving as a shorthand within the business. If you are one of those people who spend 95% of their working lives speaking in this impenetrable language, you probably have to work that much harder if you have to speak to a journalist. Some people, of course, do not even bother, imagining that, mysteriously, the reporter will know just as much about their industry as they do and be familiar with all the current terminology. Many reporters (for instance in the business sections of the nationals) have to cover a wide range of topics – on other occasions the specialist is away covering something else, and another person has to fill in, doing the best they can.   This is one of the biggest single reasons that people get misquoted in the papers: it is because the journalist has not quite understood what a contact has said, and they do not like to ask. So the lesson is: always use plain, clear language that everyone will understand.   (Taken from The M-Factor by Tom Maddocks)