For Effective PR and communications use plain English. Its best for client relations

Plain English Please!

This may just be a personal gripe but why do agencies feel the need to adopt ‘marketing speak’ when working with clients?  I appreciate that it’s important to use the right terminology when explaining a campaign or PR proposal but let’s not forget clients are normal people so can we please stop using cliches and ‘buzz words’ as it has the potential to undermine the good work being done.

I’ve listed a few of Source PR’s pet hates below and attempted to give a plain English alternative.  Hopefully this will help agencies in not coming as across like characters from an Alan Partridge sketch when they’re pitching for new business.

Agency speak How it’s used Real world alternatives
Collaboration space We work remotely but drop into the collaboration space a couple of times a week


We work in the office twice a week
Ping me Can you ping me and I’ll ping you back ASAP


Send me an email and I’ll respond
It’s a no brainer Pick the low hanging fruit first, it’s a no brainer


The obvious decision
Think outside the box Let’s get together for a thought shower and think outside the box


Let’s think creatively
Circle back Let’s circle back to the issue you’ve highlighted


Let’s discuss later
It’s on my radar Yes, of course I’ll get that report over to you – it’s on my radar


I know about it but have done nothing yet
Reach out As part of our outreach campaign, we’ll reach out to influencers


We will contact influencers
Jump on a call I’ve a busy schedule today but plan to jump on a client call at 10am


I’ll call them at 10am
Deep dive / drill down / double click Let’s take a deep dive / drill down / double click into the report


Let’s read / understand it properly
Bandwidth He’s not got the bandwidth to deal with this


Capacity / capability
Move the needle We need to move the needle on this campaign to ramp up engagement


That campaign didn’t work, let’s try something different
New normal Jumping on Zoom calls is the ‘new normal’ in the collaboration space


New ways of working / normal
Jacking We’ve an audacious plan of news/meme-jacking to complement our omnichannel campaign


Piggyback on someone else’s success
Go the extra mile As we’re a customer centric agency we go the extra mile for clients We’re not lazy

Effective PR and communications

The University of California’s Berkley Business school has reported that jargon is detrimental to communicating effectively as it removes the real meaning of the words used, citing that people generally use jargon as a substitute for understanding or providing real answers to questions. In other words, it’s a way of trying to make yourself sound intelligent when you don’t really understand the subject that you’re talking about, or filibustering as it’s known in politics.

The overuse of buzz words could in-fact have the opposite effect with audiences losing trust in you or questioning your credibility.  According to a study in 2011, speakers who use buzzwords and industry slang instead of basic language were often perceived to be lying rather than creating the sense of mystery and complexity they hope for.

Let’s cut the pretentiousness and speak the plain English that our clients like and expect.  In my experience the brightest minds can simplify complicated subjects into something that anyone could understand – as Da Vinci once said ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’.

If you have heard any marketing buzz words that drive you mad, please translate and share them with us!