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Diane Gurman's picture

Talking to people outside librarianship - eliminating jargon,"


I just read an article called "Straight talk: Doctoral Students Learn to Connect with Mainstream Audiences," which I thought could be useful in our advocacy efforts, especially as Leg Day approaches. 

One of the points in the article is that overuse of jargon is alienating. As the Dean in charge of the new communication program notes, “We want to make graduate students bilingual.... They get plenty of training in the important skills of speaking and writing academically, but the more they learn that, the further they get from the way they should talk with somebody they’re sitting next to on an airplane or at a dinner party."

This problem is not limited to the hard sciences, but applies to the library world as well. For example, one of my main interests is copyright law as it applies to academic and public libraries, and I know that if I started talking to people who don't share my interest about the importance of first sale and fair use, I'd lose everyone immediately. 

The idea is to speak plainly about complex issues, and one way to do this is through storytelling -- a strategy we already use and should employ more often. “Storytelling,” explained Giordano [a professional presentation coach], “is the oldest form of expression,” breathing life into content and adding an emotional dimension. “We want more people to fall in love with our subject.”

Here is a link to the article: http://newsroom.ucla.edu/stories/straight-talk:-doctoral-students-learn-to-connect-with-mainstream-audiences

Talk to you all soon.  Best wishes,
Diane Gurman

Lynne Bradley-DC (staff)'s picture

Thanks, Diane.  Good for us to be reminded about this, especially as we prepare for NLLD.