Tips and Techniques to Manage Difficult People

Dump the Jargon

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Do you know what can really embarrass a customer? Or make them feel stupid? Or just fail to help them understand? blahAnd I mean an internal as well as an external customer.

Jargon will cause all of the above to happen. And you certainly don’t want that if you want customers to use your product or service, keep coming back and recommend your business to other people. Or have happy staff and colleagues.

When you use technical terms, buzz words or acronyms, the other person may not understand. They may also feel that you are talking down to them; this makes them feel patronised and uncomfortable.

Any forms of jargon are best avoided.

Every organisation has its jargon, and yet when I ask people in a seminar to give me examples of jargon in their business, they really struggle to come up with something. And the reason for that is – they don’t know they’re using jargon!

Here are some examples of workplace jargon:

  • Land and expand
  • Blue-sky thinking
  • Think outside the box
  • The helicopter view
  • Get our ducks in a row
  • Drink our own champagne
  • End-user perspective
  • Pushing the envelope
  • Moving forward
  • Boil the ocean
  • Heavy lifting
  • Face time
  • Hammer it out
  • Cubicle farm
  • Pick the low hanging fruit

(If you want to know what any of these mean, just drop me a line)

And this list doesn’t contain any acronyms that are often used.

I do a lot of work with a large telecommunications company. Every time we have a coffee break, the participants get together and talk about work stuff. I’ve listened in on these conversations and I haven’t a clue what they’re talking about. They will say thinks like – ‘We need to do an AB1 to get a 465, and then we’ll do woppow to pull the DD12 through.’

Okay, so it’s not exactly like that, but it sounds a lot like that to me. I just hope the customers are never on the end of this!

Am I stoopid or something?

I was in the bank the other day depositing a cheque from a grateful client. The lady behind the counter took the cheque and the pay in slip and said something to me that I didn’t understand.

I said – ‘I’m sorry I don’t understand’ and she repeated herself five times before I got it.

What she was saying was – ‘This will be late for clearing.’

Now I know you’re reading this and thinking that it makes perfect sense to you.

But this lady was softly spoken and not very distinct. And because I didn’t understand the jargon, I had to ask her to repeat herself five times.

She kept saying the same thing, and didn’t seem to be able to translate it into everyday language.

She could have said something like – ‘This amount won’t be available to withdraw from your account until Monday.’ Or, ‘It will be three days before this money will available to you.’ Or something like that.

But repeating the same thing over and over again was not helpful or good for customer service.

It was slightly embarrassing for me and made me feel a bit more stupid than I really am.

Remember, every business and every industry has its own jargon; so, you’ll need to know not just general slang but also the industry specific jargon in your organisation.

So, make sure when communicating with other people, you dump the jargon and KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid!

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