Today we turn our attention to the subject of jargon. For the purposes of clarity (after all that is what we always seek here at The Awards People) let us begin with the Oxford Dictionary definition;
Special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group and are difficult for others to understand: e.g. "legal jargon"
When it comes to award entry the use of jargon really can be a significant issue and for that reason we believe it is a topic worthy of a post. The main problem in having too much (or, in our opinion, any) jargon within your award submission is that it makes it very difficult for the judges reading the information to entirely understand it. They may get the general gist of what you’re describing, but some of the finer detail – and possibly some of the most pertinent points – may indeed simply get lost in translation.
At The Awards People we always ask our clients to remember that the judges may have a dozen or more entries for exactly the same award and category to read at any one time. You never can tell if your entry will appear on this reading list as number one or number 12 – or indeed anywhere in between – and it is, therefore, very, very important that what you write is memorable for the right reasons.
To ensure that this is indeed the case, your award entry should be both interesting and easy to understand. These two qualities should guarantee that the person judging it reads it in its entirety and absorbs the detail which you wanted to bring to their attention; the differentiating points which might just be award-winning!
Paragraphs of information containing a generous smattering of jargon run the risk of losing the reader. In the world of awards, a category will seldom be judged by someone with in-depth knowledge about the entrant’s specific subject. There are, of course, exceptions to this (we’re thinking here of niche, industry-specific awards) but generally speaking, the judge may have very relevant business experience and the ability to identify distinguishing features such as innovation, exceptional service levels, environmental credentials etc. but have a basic knowledge of the terminology used within the industry itself.
Not being entirely, 100% ‘blame-free’ when it comes to using market-related jargon ourselves, we totally understand that it can be difficult to avoid and often, even at the proof-reading stage, it’s missed because we’re so used to seeing it and using it in our everyday working lives. This is the point where a friend of colleague from outside your place (or even type) of work comes in very handy. We heartily recommend that you have someone totally independent of your operation read your entry prior to submission and this sense check, proof-read and general stamp of approval is the perfect time to carry out a bit of jargon- busting too!
Lecture over, we thought we would share a quote we loved from the American Physicist, Martin H. Fisher;
You must learn to talk clearly. The jargon of scientific terminology which rolls off your tongues is mental garbage.
Martin, incidentally, also famously said;
A conclusion is the place where you got tired thinking.
…which is where we will leave it!