In the control rooms of NASA or the Hadron Collider, people need jargon. They need a common language that offers short-cuts to complex ideas and processes. Otherwise they’d still be working on that moon-shot or particle-collision now.
But jargon is a slippery beast and it looks for every opportunity to get out under a door or through an air vent (there are always air-vents).
And when it does, it does everything it can to remove the power and human connection in everyday language. To drive a wedge between our message and our meaning.
This can happen in fundraising all too easily. We ask people to ‘fundraise for us’ (not ‘raise money for us’). We ask people to ‘donate to’ us, ‘make a donation to us’ or even ‘donate to our appeal’ —Â not just give, or make a gift to make a wonderful thing happen. I’ve even seen an NSPCC pack* that gave people the option to make a ‘cash donation’ (meaning a one-off gift). Presumably in an envelope that said ‘please do not send cash’.
The language of our briefs can escape the control room of brand and strategy too. ‘Engagement’, ‘inspiration’, ‘passion’ are all words to be found in brand models and manifestos —Â but which are rarely heard at the bus stop.
Read the brief. Read the copy.
They should say exactly the same thing. Using none of the same words.
*It was a while ago