Killing Jargon and Other Communication Lessons from Saturday Night Live

4G. 3G. LTE.

Help me. 

Confused by technology? You're not alone, especially when it comes to mobile technology.

Did you see the recent Saturday Night Live Verizon ad spoof? It features a confused customer and a fast-talking, acronym-spewing salesman.

This parody accomplishes one thing particularly well — it says nothing at all.

SNL pokes fun at the wireless sector with this closing tagline: Verizon. It’s an old person’s nightmare. Actually, confusing communication is a nightmare for anyone, especially the communicator who should strive for clear, jargon-free messages.

Five tips for clear communications

At Rhudy & Co. – whether we're writing a newsletter article, an award entry, or a speech for a client – we strive to be clear and concise. Here are five tips to make your communication more effective.

1. Avoid alphabet soup. Write out acronyms on first reference to give context.

2. Keep it tight. Ensure every word is needed. Edit as much as you can while still being effective. Remember you are writing for skimmers and scanners.

3. Know your audience. If it’s a speech, who is the audience? If it’s a media alert, what does the reporter know?

4. Avoid clichés. You know … Fit as a fiddle. Tight as a tick. Clear as mud. They make communications dry and predictable. Use stronger verbs and descriptive adjectives.

5. Slice the buzzwords. Robust. Infrastructure. Paradigm. Who talks like this?

Jonathan Rhudy refuses to be an old person in a technology nightmare. He’s intrigued by the personal technology chaos that will intensify thanks to Microsoft’s recent launch of the super slim tablet-like device called “Surface.”