We’re all guilty of overusing jargon and assuming our audience understands what we mean. You may have even read a blog or two of ours where we sprinkled in a few phrases about smart water or meter data management. And don’t even get us started on the water industry acronyms!
Well, we’re making amends. We published the “Water Jargon 101” e-book to help water professionals communicate more effectively by demystifying some of our most frequently used jargon, like “smart metering,” “under-the-glass,” and “apparent water loss.” A little scared by the thought of adjusting your diction? So AMI…
Professionals at all levels would do well to take a peek at the e-book, then reflect on how frequently you use these terms with people who may not have your in-depth water knowledge. We’re talkin’ about your board of directors, the news media, commercial water customers, and especially your residents. If you’re using any of these terms or phrases in your communications on a regular basis, rather than filtering them out completely, consider using them more sparingly and actively educating your audience when you do.
Besides limiting jargon, a good way to improve communication — especially when it comes to urgent or high-risk topics that require substantial yet concise language — is to review its readability and determine at what level a reader must be to understand it. The higher the level, the harder it is for a broad audience of residents to understand your message. To improve readability, focus on shorter sentences and words with fewer syllables. Pro tip: You can test your language directly within Microsoft Word.
Let’s RCAP. If you constantly use jargon, what will your audience be WEF with? Confusion — or worse, disinterest. So, if you must use some of the jargon detailed within our e-book, be clear in your messaging and explain exactly what you mean. Don’t give your audience a reason to tune out. Be the reason they tune in.