Cutting down on jargon

Jargon can be a very useful tool when communicating with peers or colleagues, allowing you to reference complicated ideas without eating up valuable time. However, it is only shared knowledge that allows this shorthand to be useful – when talking to an outside audience jargon quickly loses its shine! It’s important to explain any jargon you might want to use so that your audience understands your terminology, as that will help maintain your connection and allow the information to flow.

This is not a call to ‘dumb down’ the information you are putting across, but rather to explain it clearly and concisely. If you wish to use jargon as a time-saving technique you can – just make sure you define it first! Not only does it allow you to make your point understood but it also creates trust with the audience and allows them to become more comfortable and familiar with your subject matter.

If you’re not sure whether the information you’re communicating is too jargonistic, ask a friend or family member (who does not work in the same field as you) to listen to your spiel and flag up any jargon words they’re not familiar with. You can also ask your audience on the day to check their level of knowledge, e.g. “Raise your hand if you know what DNA is”. If most of your audience raises their hand then you can pretty confidently continue with your talk. If only a few do, then you know to take a moment to explain it before going further. There’s no point trying to impart knowledge if the base understanding isn’t solid – so make sure you’ve got that before anything else.

If you want more rather than less jargon in your speech, try this Jargon Generator. I hope this post has transformed inquiry-centered differentiated lessons through the collaborative process.

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