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How to Avoid Jargon in Your Professional Writing

Jargon refers to words or phrases used by a particular group that may be difficult for others to understand. In your business, you may have lots of jargon that you use on a regular basis. However, if you’re writing to customers, it’s important to avoid jargon. Try using these four tips to help you do this:

1. Know Your Audience

Think about the recipients of your writing. What do you know about them? How familiar are they with your industry and the particular topic? What words would they know? Try to find ways to make your writing understandable and relatable to your audience.

2. Define Terms

As you come across terms that you’re struggling to simplify, including acronyms, remember that it’s okay to use them sometimes. When you have jargon that is necessary to use, just take the time to define the terms. This will help educate the reader and make the writing easier to understand. Just use this technique sparingly. If readers must read too many definitions to understand what you’re saying, they won’t stay engaged and won’t finish what they’re reading.

3. Be as Clear as Possible

It might make sense for you to explain a concept in just a couple of words using jargon. And, maybe there are terms that you can’t help but use to explain what’s happening. If this is the case, be sure that you’re as clear as possible to help your readers understand.

For example, maybe you’re writing about how to fix a leaky sink. You’ll probably have to use terms like O-ring, washer, or cartridge. Even if your reader doesn’t know what these terms are or what the parts look like, they need to be able to locate them to follow your directions. So, be sure that your directions are as clear as possible with explanations or descriptions, as needed.

4. Substitute Everyday Words

When writing business copy, it’s a good idea to write to an audience with a 9th grade reading level. To do this, read through your writing and look for words that might be more difficult to understand without a dictionary. Then, substitute these words for ones that the average person would understand. This will help your writing move from a formal tone to a more conversational one that readers will find more relatable.

To ensure that your writing is effective and keeps readers engaged, be sure to avoid jargon and replace it with easy-to-understand terms and phrases. As you do this, your writing will become more accessible to everyone who wants to read it. Then, you can reach your audience and your goals for writing.

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