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Lose the Lingo: Why Simple Language Trumps Jargon and Buzzwords

Words, words, and more words. When you walk into a doctor’s office or read a scientific paper, you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of industry-specific words you encounter. When your customers walk into your office or read your website, do they feel the same way? Communicating clearly not only helps your customers know what you’re talking about, it establishes you as a good communicator and a trusted source of information.


Confusing Insurance Terms

When you work in a field for a long time, it can be difficult to know what terms are part of the general public’s language bank and what words are just plain confusing. That’s why it’s helpful to send any commonly-used documents to an editor or a test group before you use them. Don’t assume that people understand terms that you’d use every day, such as covered services, premium, and deductible. Use paraphrasing on your website and in written documents to ensure that readers understand these commonly-used terms.

When you get more specific with your products, you get more obscure in terms of jargon. What’s a cafeteria plan or a Q-tip trust? What is decanting? If and when you need to refer to industry-specific products, make sure that you spell out the meaning of those products in plain language and explain how they work. While your customers’ needs may be very specific, this doesn’t mean that they always know the language that accompanies those needs. Take time to let them know what the products are called and how they work, and your customers will be better prepared to understand the products that they use.


Simple Language Clears Up Confusion

Why bother keeping language simple? One reason is that you don’t want your customers to be confused. Your customers need to know what they’re buying and how it works, so that they can ensure that they have the right products for their needs. You need to make sure that they’ll make payments on time and that if they need to use their insurance, they’re satisfied because they understand what’s covered. Clearing up confusion now prevents unhappiness in the future.


Simple Language Builds Trust

If you’re looking for a new doctor, you’ll likely look for someone who’s proficient in the field, but you may also put a high value on bedside manner. Can that person understand your problems? The same goes for other professionals as well. When you’re trying to build trust with your customers or potential customers, using plain language help your customers know that you’re a good communicator who will always keep them in the loop. Simple language can be an important part of your branding.


Simple Language Is Timeless

In addition to industry jargon, there are many trendy words out there, and they change year to year. While you may use these words in reports to management or other industry professionals as you talk about the latest trends, try not to jump on the latest language trend with your customers. Speak in plain, simple language that they understand today and that they’ll understand tomorrow.

When you’re looking for advice and support from industry professionals, the American Agents Alliance can help.  As a national insurance association for independent insurance agents we’re here for you.  Contact us today to learn about the many benefits of membership.

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