I’ve been a digital marketer for about 20 years. In one of my first jobs, I loved using marketing jargon. At the time, I reported to the CEO of the company on a weekly basis. He wanted to know what his growth looked like, and I would go deep into the rabbit hole of CPA, CPC, LTV, and whatever other jargon appeared in the latest digital marketing blogs. While these metrics mattered, I wasn’t speaking the CEO’s language. So while it felt good to spew a bunch of initialisms, it didn’t actually accomplish the outcome that I wanted.
What is the Purpose of Communication?
Let’s start with the dictionary definition of communication:
Communication (Merriam Webster): the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else
This is a terrible definition. Yet, it is what most people use every day. It’s terrible because it only describes one side of the conversation. The purpose of communication is to increase the understanding of ideas shared between the speaker and the listener.
This can be difficult if you are lecturing on a stage, or recording an audiobook, or creating content in some other way in which there is no feedback. You have to speak in a way that resonates with your audience, so that they are engaged. Then, you have to convey your ideas in a way that they are best understood. Jargon is not understandable to broad audiences.
If you are in a conversation with a marketing expert, they are likely trying to sell you on something. If you are not working with them, then they are selling you on why you should hire them. If you are working together, then they are selling you on why you should continue to work with them. If they are using jargon, then they are a terrible salesperson.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
— Franklin Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The most important skill in communication is not speaking. It is listening. If you are not actively listening to the other person, so that you can understand them, then you are not communicating effectively. This is also the case if you are speaking in a way that…