<aside> 🤔 Here at Part and Sum we have a distinctive way of doing things. That’s not just about catching potential clients’ attention  –  although that’s one goal. It’s also about being true to who we are as human beings and fostering an environment that supports our interests, values, and personal growth. Because, you know, we’re human beings and so are the clients we work with.

If you’ve read our newsletter or social posts, you may have noticed that we try to avoid business jargon. That’s no accident. We try to catch jargon in the first draft of anything we share and edit with an eye towards more human ways of expressing ourselves. This means extra time and attention before we can hit send or publish. But trust us, it’s worth it. These are 6 reasons why.


  1. Jargon is lazy. Can’t think of the right word or phrase to convey your idea? Whatever. Just grab the nearest buzzword you saw on someone else’s PowerPoint. Not! Part and Sum is many things. Lazy is not one of them. You’re not either, right?
  2. Jargon signals a lack of creativity. Surely you’ve rejected logo designs or marketing strategies because they’re “too bland” or “not original enough.” Much like a generic logo reflects poorly on your brand, generic language reflects poorly on you. Give feedback with the intention of being understood and finding solutions.
  3. Jargon insults your audience’s intelligence. We don’t believe in dumbing things down. We believe in taking the time to explain complicated concepts in ways that people can really understand. And yes, we believe people can understand complicated concepts.
  4. Jargon is confusing. In a world where people are barraged by emails, newsfeeds, social posts, pop-ups, and push notifications, why would you risk confusion by using vague, imprecise language?
  5. Jargon excludes people. Too much jargon can create an in vs. out dynamic – there will be those who get it and those who don’t. Often, those who understand jargon have certain privileges to begin with like more traditional educational and career experiences or access to people who use jargon frequently. Those who don’t get it may be newer to the field, have landed in their current role via unusual paths, or lack a mentor who’s looking out for them. Using language everyone can understand means happier people, a stronger team, and more perspectives with which to form ideas.
  6. No one likes jargon. No one. Not one person. Not the people who write it, not the people who read it. Nobody ever reviews a dense, jargon-laden document and thinks, “Gee, that was a pleasant experience that inspires me to get to work on this project.” No. You read it and consider quitting your job to hike in New Zealand.

<aside> 🤓 Okay, so we’re passionate about this. (You can tell.) Still, let’s be realistic, sometimes jargon is unavoidable. Certain industries have adopted terms that you need to use in order to get your point across and that’s fine. Context matters – telling your COO to “review the ROI on an RFP” is perfectly sensible. Telling a marketing brainstorm group to “circle back with a win-win USP” is just a bummer for everyone involved.

We’ve thought a lot about why jargon persists despite its obvious drawbacks. One of our theories is that jargon has become so pervasive that people have simply accepted it as a cost of doing business . It’s one of those inevitably lame things you encounter at work, like a jammed printer or a tedious weekly meeting.

Another theory is that people don’t feel empowered to speak up against jargon or they fear sounding critical of others, especially their managers. And finally, there’s that old chestnut: “Well, everyone else is doing it.” Truth is, that’s usually code for: “I have no idea how to stop doing it.” We’re here to tell you that it’s possible to do business without masking your thoughts in jargon. You can break free and communicate better, starting right now with these tips.


<aside> 😇 That’s it! We hope this makes it a little easier for you and your team to actually communicate instead of just talking at each other.

It takes conscious effort to rid ourselves of some of these frustrating words (upleveling) and overused expressions (low hanging fruit), so don’t be discouraged if there’s some practice involved. Making the world a more coherent place means eliminating jargon – one sentence at a time.