A couple of years ago, in an online discussion about a blog listing “150 weird words that only architects use”, (including “pastiche”, “ergonomy”, “charette”, “regionalis”, and “materiality”), there were two schools of thought:
- Pro: Architecture has its own language, not unlike other professions. Not everything needs to be diluted to the lowest common denominator.
- Con: Architects are not contributing to public discourse by using language incomprehensible to a layman. If you cannot explain your work simply, you simply don’t understand your work.
Rather than debating the use of “insider” vocabulary, Vogue Magazine takes a different tack – share the “secrets” with customers, letting them feel “in the know” – and in the mood to buy! Plucking “terminology that you can find all over the catwalks – season in, season out”, the Vogue Glossary “teaches” prospects to be “mavens” who know “neats” from “knife-pleats” and “vents” from “yokes”.
As a wordsmith for business blog content, I can’t help liking that Vogue approach. As Nick Sebastian points out in ListVerse.com, “Every trade has its own technical terms and common phrases that are used for the sake of convenience.” In certain industries, Sebastian remarks, the words are all English, but “they are used in a way that turns a daily job into a private club.”
- In the world of TV and film production, the last shot of the day is known as the “martini shot”.
- At old-fashioned diners, the waitress will call your order of pancakes with maple syrup, a side of sausage, and coffee a “stack of Vermont with zeppelins and a cup of mud”.
- In the army, “geardos” spend time maintaining expensive gear.
- Appliance makers talk of CFC-free refrigerators, where the insulating foam are free of chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants.
- Movers offer accessorial services (packing, unpacking, piano stair carries)
In blogging for business, I’ve found, gearing your language towards a target audience, using terms that mark familiarity with the subject, adds an air of “coziness”, a “ we’re-in-this-thing-together” tone. Uh…maybe. what if a reader happened NOT to be familiar with the term you used? That reader might actually be “turned off” by the unpleasant feeling of not being in the know about some elementary information tidbit that everyone else apparently understands!
In terms of business blogging help, using the “lingo” and terminology of our field of expertise can demonstrate we’re current and at the top of our game – so long as we’re not leaving anyone out. Translate! Letting readers in on the “secret words” can translate into transactions!