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4th September 2019
WORK IN TECH? DON’T GET CAUGHT UP IN THE HYPE
Have you noticed that as technology advances, so does our use of complicated jargon?
Having worked with technology companies for over a decade, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time translating technical documents. Their content is like another language, and when that’s the native tongue inside the organisation, it can be easy to forget that those on the outside don’t understand what ‘leveraging a next-generation solution to achieve IT transformation’ means.
No matter how much you use these terms in conversation with colleagues, when writing the description down, an outside-in approach is more beneficial than an inside-out one. Essentially, explain what you or your products do with a view to making someone on the outside understand, not someone from inside the company.
To ensure you find the right balance between over and under use of technical language, go back to basic storytelling – which we all know is an art.
But when the stories we are telling are not simple, but rather designed to settle a complicated problem, or relate to the deepest, darkest IT infrastructure; it is a little trickier to make that link between problem and resolution clear.
If you’re struggling to communicate the purpose of your product or service without becoming bogged down in technical language, it can be a valuable exercise to consider how you would explain it to an older relative or child, or just an uninitiated friend in the pub. This will make you consider if the wording you would usually use when speaking to a customer is clear or if it might invoke a very confused look in return.
After considering how you might simplify your language, it can then be a good idea to evaluate whether your copy is true to your brand’s vision and mission, and whether the language you use on your website and social channels are clear too.
It is well worth taking the time to do an audit of these channels, often revealing a need to simplify the language you use and tone you take. This is not to say that it is vital that every technical term is eradicated from your written materials however, it’s more about finding that balance so as not to completely bamboozle your audience.
After you have done this, it is vital that you communicate the results of these exercises to your team – who can transfer the new lexicon to their own work and conversations externally. This will help to guarantee that about the story about your company and what it does is consistent, filtering through all discussions and written work.
While getting caught up in the eye of the technical storm can be easy; taking a step back to self-edit could reap you far more in the future.