Why Jargon Is Bad for Your Business -- and How To Eliminate It

A growing movement of experts are stepping up to help businesspeople speak like, well, people.
Source: svetikd | Getty Images

Rey Sawan has a good idea. It’s for a food truck selling Lebanese flatbread sandwiches called manaeesh. The twist? While customers wait for their orders, he will transport them to the street markets of his native Beirut using virtual reality. To make that happen, he needs $100,000. That’s why he’s now standing behind a table and in front of a PowerPoint screen in fashionably ripped jeans and a T-shirt, smiling nervously as he starts his pitch. Following a script stored on his phone, he speaks about his capitalization costs, his empirical analysis of average post-transaction customer wait times for food-truck meals and how to leverage VR content as part of the end-to-end value proposition he hopes will ultimately differentiate his business model.

Related: Stop Using these 5 Words Now

When Sawan is finished showing his flow charts and listing his financials, Lu Ann Reeb puts on her glasses and consults her notes. “What we lost in what we just saw was that hugely compelling factor of why you want to do this,” she says. “Come here.” She takes away the phone and tells Sawan to turn off the PowerPoint. 

“Now,” she says, “just tell your story.”

Reeb fields a lot of pitches, but she’s not an investor. She’s a no-nonsense former TV news producer and communications consultant who–style, with the business plans they’ve spent a year developing. The top three will be given cash awards to start them on their way.

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