Out, Damned Jargon! Out, I Say!


By: Ceci Dadisman

In: Arts Admin, Audience Development, Marketing & Communications

noun  jar·gon  \ ˈjär-gən , -ˌgän \

1 : the technical terminology or characteristic idiom of a special activity or group sports
2 : obscure and often pretentious language marked by circumlocutions and long words an academic essay filled with jargon

Arts organization descriptive copy is filled with jargon. We have lots of words that are specific to our art form which we use to describe our organization or events.

The problem with this is that people who are not familiar with us don’t understand what we are saying. It is like we are speaking a foreign language. It is hard to make any sort of connection with someone if they can’t understand you, let alone convince them to spend money on a ticket.

Study after study finds that, when trying to appeal to the masses, it is better to use simple words.

This was recently brought into focus in an article in Inc: Smart Entrepreneurs Use Third-Grade Words. Steve Jobs Did and You Should, Too.

“Some people love speaking in jargon, using fancy words and turning everything into acronyms. It’s far better to use a simple term and commonplace words that everyone will understand.” – Richard Branson

Check out the full article and think about how you might be able to swap out the jargon for more easily understandable words.

Ceci Dadisman
Ceci Dadisman
Ceci Dadisman is a marketing professional with more than 15 years of experience creating effective communications campaigns utilizing innovative, forward thinking methods. She is nationally recognized as a leader in digital marketing and specializes in multichannel communications campaigns. A frequent public speaker, Ceci’s recent and upcoming engagements feature national conference appearances at NTEN, Museums and the Web, National Arts Marketing Project, Arts Midwest, American Alliance of Museums, OPERA America, Midwest Museums Association, and Chorus America in addition to many other local and regional events. Known for her easy-going and vernacular style, she creates open learning environments with an emphasis on information sharing and useful takeaways. She is a member of the National Arts Marketing Project Advisory Committee and the West Virginia University College of Creative Arts Visiting Committee, and is a mentor in West Virginia University’s Creative Consultant program. She also teaches the arts marketing course at West Virginia University’s College of Creative Arts and is on the faculty of Chorus America’s Chorus Management Institute. Ceci was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from West Virginia University’s College of Creative Arts. She currently lives in Cleveland, Ohio.
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