Orangeville, ON (James Doan) London recruitment firm Milkround recently surveyed 2000 job hunters. Half said they had decided not to apply for some job or another because they did not understand the job ad.

Were the ads written in Ukrainian or Greek? No. They used buzz-speak phrases like “blue-sky thinking” (meaning open-mindedness), “growth hacking” (getting more customers quickly) and “thought shower” (can you guess that one?).

I see this fiasco in marketing copy, too.

When I identify jargon that acts as a barrier for potential buyers, I often get two objections. First, readers all do understand the lingo. Second, the folks we want as customers understand our wording.

Studies like Milkround’s help deflate such assumptions. I recommend performing an informal survey of your voguish phrases. You may feel they are vital to conveying how current your company and products are. People don’t like to admit being out of the know, so a jargon questionnaire needs to be anonymous.

People who don’t need or want what you sell go away. Why make those who do need or want your wares vanish, also?

(Did you guess? “Thought shower” is business-babble for brainstorming.)