Could you possibly be confusing your prospects with business jargon? I’m sure you wouldn’t do it intentionally, but if you don’t pay close attention to the words you’re using, you might be doing exactly that.

For example, just the other day I got an email asking me if I’d be interested in speaking at an upcoming IFC conference. While I was delighted to be invited to speak, I had no idea what IFC stood for. In an attempt to find out, I Googled it but ended up even more mystified. Was it the International Fundraising Congress, the Investing Financing Council or the Inter-Fraternity Connection?

Turns out it was none of these. However, it did get me thinking about how often we use business words or acronyms and just assume the people we’re talking to know what we mean. In doing this, we risk creating a rift between ourselves and our prospects. They get stuck trying to figure out what we mean and may be too embarrassed to ask, and as a result, they can’t pay attention to what we’re saying. This doesn’t help us at all.

Or, we deliberately use impressive-sounding terminology to make our prospects think we’re smart. But, instead, they conclude we’re pompous you-know-whats. Or, we end up making them feel really stupid, which doesn’t work in our favor either.

Our goal should always be to ensure clear communication. After all, how can we sell if we don’t communicate? That means we need to speak as if we’re talking to normal human beings. Sometimes that’s harder than it sounds, but we can all benefit from a pledge to keep things simple.

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Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. If you’re struggling to set up meetings, click here to get a free Prospecting Tool Kit.