Plain English, or Jargon?

Do you know it’s “Plain English Day” today?  The Plain English Campaign is a group who fight against the use of jargon and gobbledygook in public information from private and public service organisations.

We try very hard to be jargon-free, but how should you define jargon?  Surely one man’s jargon is another’s everyday language, particularly when related to the industry you work in?  In the business improvements sector there are lots of opportunities to use specialist vocabulary.  Words like:

5S      CANDO      Kaizen      Kanban      Muda      SMED      and lots more besides.

They are common enough terms in our day-to-day operations, so are they considered “jargon”?  (If you’re really keen to know what they are, you can consult the Lean Glossary of Terms!)

We consider jargon to be meaningless phrases – phrases that use lots of words where one or two will do; language that confuses the message, rather than clarifies it.  So what meaningless phrases would you get rid of?  What makes you cringe when you hear it?

Here’s a selection of our most annoying jargon:

“at the end of the day”
“at this particular moment in time”
“telling it like it is”
“thinking outside the box”
“it’s not rocket science”
“I personally think …”
“I always give 110%”

… but I bet I’m guilty of using some of them!

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