Let Me Say This Plainly: We Need A Cultural De-Jargonizer

This seems to be a week of realization when it comes to a larger need to move away from jargon and toward more accessible language.

Joe Patti posted something yesterday that introduced me to a wonderful article by Trevor O’Donnell that espouses the need for dejargonizing marketing material. Hot on the heels of Joe’s post is one from Ceci Dadisman at ArtsHacker that takes an even deeper dive into this subject.

I am a little disappointed in myself that I didn’t know about the Plain Language Act President Obama signed into lay in 2010 that requires federal agencies to write “clear government communication that the public can understand and use.”

For the longest time, I’ve wanted to have enough spare time to build a cultural De-Jargonizer along the lines of this one that exists to help scientists and science communication trainers improve and adapt vocabulary use for a variety of audiences. While it’s designed for the scientific community, it does a pretty good job at jargon heavy, pedantic program notes.

In the meantime, here’s a resource list for all of these articles:

Three Survival Tools for Post-Pandemic Arts Leaders

De-Jargonizer: How accessible is your work? Paste your article or upload a file to analyze the amount of jargon in your writing.

Smart Entrepreneurs Use Third-Grade Words. Steve Jobs Did and You Should, Too

Stop Killing Kittens

Why Plain Language Is Imperative For Our Survival

Out, Damned Jargon! Out, I Say!



About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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