What did he say? What did she mean?

These are questions you don’t want your audience to be asking during a press briefing, media interview or presentation. The use of jargon will jeopardize your message and confuse your audience.

A meteorologist with Pacific Gas & Electric recently fell into the jargon trap when explaining why the California utility might shut off electricity to prevent fires sparked by downed power lines. He used the non-conversational term “wind event.” And that was just the beginning (watch the clip up to the 0:58 mark):

The meteorologist should have abandoned the jargon by simply saying it’s going to be very windy, then estimating the wind strength in miles per hour. And his entire statement should have been written to be spoken in conversational language. These revisions would have made his message clear and understandable, the goal of any good communicator.

Are you a person in a technical role or who works with individuals in technical roles? Getting lost in the details and using technical jargon is an easy pitfall for people in any position, but especially those whose work depends on the details. We have the skills and know-how to help people in any position learn how to be clear and understandable, and develop into great communicators regardless of their role.