Can you translate that please?

People love to use jargon in all professional fields from the restaurant service industry (“Can you tell the two-top at 19 the mashers are 86-ed? I’m in the weeds!”) to the other side of the spectrum and clear winner in my book, the financial industry (“Our solutions are easily positioned to leverage scalable best practices”). What does that even mean?

Conversations in the financial world not only need a translator for the inexperienced ear, but are also quite confusing and sometimes purposefully misleading. Jargon has become an elitist language many use to fit in or “peacock” their level of experience [click to tweet]. But how far is too far? Sometimes it’s much easier to use a simple term that everyone in the room will understand.

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson posted on his LinkedIn that, despite running several billion-dollar companies, he didn’t understand the difference between net and gross for many years, and prefers when financial issues are explained clearly. BINGO.

Adding to this confusion, many companies create their own buzz words under the assumption they are straightforward to everyone else. I’ve found this just slows down the learning process and irritates the listener, who most likely is a journalist. Not one of your “best practices”.

Starting out as vibrant and innovative phrases, these analogies, similes and metaphors are becoming so far extended that eventually the real meaning is lost. Everyone can be a thought leader, my coffee roast is no longer the most robust thing in the room and projects have as many moving parts as Medusa’s hair. I’m reaching out to clients (metaphorically of course), making hay and heavy lifting without leaving my desk, and having Face Time without an iPhone.

Let’s simplify things, guys. If you can avoid the unnecessary stream of financial lingo, do so [click to tweet]. Instead of wreaking havoc with obscure jargon and leaving a trail of vocab victims, let’s speak a language that resonates with everyone.

I think the proof is in the pudding.

Follow @paragonalert

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