Jargon is about power, not understanding

Although the high-yield bond market’s overall credit quality has decreased modestly, still-solid earnings and cash flow generation, coupled with an approximately 500 bp spread over similarly dated government bonds, lead us to favour the high-yield market over the government bond market.”

Say again?

You may think spouting jargon like this impresses your client – it certainly shows them how smart you are, doesn’t it?

Actually no, it turns off most clients because, at best they simply have no idea what you are talking about and at worst they’ll think you are an arrogant fool and see it for nothing more than it is – a power play.

Trying to impress with your technical knowledge only serves to drive clients away. Most, especially women, are more interested in building honest relationships with advisors than listening to them show-case their brilliance.

We have a theory about jargon that many women we’ve spoken with share: “If you can’t explain something to me in plain language, then I don’t want to work with you because you really can’t be very good.”

The financial community is well-known for jargon, but the best advisors, like good teachers, thrive on making the incomprehensible, crystal clear. Rather than grandstanding, these advisors make it their mission to help clients navigate the obscure language that permeates the industry. Well done, we say!

So let’s try that explanation in English:

“Even though the ratings on lower-quality bonds have decreased a bit, they still offer investors good returns and income and cannot be ignored even when you compare them to government bonds. As such we like them and think they have a place in the portfolios of clients.”

The take away: Jargon makes you feel powerful; plain language builds strong relationships with the people who pay you.

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