Kirsten Paul: 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. It can be like another language, and when it’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 can often appear 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. 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, evaluate your brand’s vision and mission, and whether the language you use on your website and social channels is clear too.

It is well worth taking the time to do an audit of these channels which may reveal 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 eradicated from your written materials, it’s about finding a 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 language use to their own work and conversations externally. This will help to guarantee that everyone within the company is speaking the same language about your company and what it does, which will in turn filter through all conversations 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. 

Kirsten Paul is Account Director at Clark Communications

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