Jargon is a strange thing

Jargon is a strange thing

I think of jargon as a kind of ‘short-cut between colleagues’ – something we lean on when we’ve said something hundreds of times before, and when we’re no longer particularly interested in the meaning.

If we’re talking to colleagues, that’s fine. They don’t need to take the scenic route. We can bypass the meaningful stuff, jump right over the interesting bits, and get to our destination.

But put a client in the passenger seat, and it’s a different matter. We need to take them through what it means for them, explore the contours of the land and explain the purpose behind the trip. Yes, it takes a bit of time, a few extra words, but at least no one gets left behind.

In architecture, there are so many words and phrases that leave me cold. And sometimes they’re not even very big words or very complex phrases.

Take ‘social value’. Those two words are never going to be as powerful as talking about helping people to live better lives, or putting the joy back into green spaces, or giving people a way of falling back in love with their street.

Tell us what you really mean, and your words will be working a great deal harder, which is better for you and better for your clients.

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