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Does their jargon make you feel dumb? Maybe they are confused themselves.

DeChamp
Just a coder and a dad. I love my family and I love to code!!!! started coding at 11, so I have 25 years under my belt. Still love learning about it every day. Black lives matter!
・1 min read

I'm sure we've all met those people who when they start talking, their tech jargon makes our eyes glaze over, our brains melt...

what?! What does that even mean? Am I confused? Dumb? Did I not learn this? What are they saying? DOES NOT COMPUTE!

If you find yourself in a conversation and the person starts saying things that confuse you, do yourself a favor and DO NOT assume it's your lack of intelligence.

I only recently learned this in the last few years, that a lot of people will sound technical but if you dig deeper they are just as confused as you about the topic and they are just rambling.

There is no reason you can't ask them to clarify. Don't get embarrassed that you feel like they were speaking another language.

"Could you please clarify what you are talking about" or "can we break this down piece by piece?"

Ask for a code example, or white board visit. Have them slow down and try again. Get an understanding for each part before moving on to the next.

I used to just assume I wasn't as smart as the person telling me the information, but now I know 99% of the time they are just failing to communicate, typically because they are struggling themselves.

Since I've found this out, I now know that I'm just as smart as everyone else in the room. I'm able to get every single person, to communicate on a level that gets their message across.

I hope this helps!

Discussion (8)

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peledzohar profile image
Zohar Peled

A lot of people like to use "big" words just because they think it makes them sound smarter than they actually are. It takes some maturity to learn the lesson you have learned.

Another important lesson is this: When the person you are talking to actually do know what they are talking about, and they actually do want to convey that information to you, they will take the time to explain it in terms you understand. (With the exception of the smart-but-kinda-jerk type that will just tell you to read up about whatever it is they talk about).

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

exactly! thanks for the added point!

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

It's hard to make one up on the fly. It's when someone chooses to use every big word they can think of, just to explain something simple or give long bloated explanation when it's not needed.

I should clarify, I'm not just saying everyone is doing this just to do it. Sometimes it's how people talk. The point of me saying anything at all was to let others know, just because someone uses big words and long explanation that leads you to be confused, doesn't make you dumb. Have them clarify.

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phlash909 profile image
Phil Ashby

As an occasional perpetrator of such offences, usually because I've been buried in the specifics of a domain & it's language for a while and have forgotten that others are outside, I welcome those that ask for clarification - it picks out where I've made a poor assumption and helps everyone (including me!) to understand better while I attempt to explain my terminology.

If I'm alert enough at the start, I try and remember to ask for interruptions if anything is confusing to people... doesn't always happen though so thank you for being the brave one!

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ssimontis profile image
Scott Simontis

You hit a key point though, that jargon is the specialized language of a community of some sort. A lot of times, it's primarily occupation-based, but even the slang of subcultures could be considered jargon.

I think it is why all efforts to create a universal programming language that anyone can use will fail. You can't represent the jargon of every possible occupation in a generic manner, and a lot of occupations aren't interested in a DSL because they already have an effective way to encode their information. Well, maybe not effective, but a method nonetheless.

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

See I have so much respect for you saying that. We are all going to use terminology in a way that may leave our conversation partner confused, but it's about wanting to help them learn either way, even if we have to change up what we say. Props to you!

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dechamp profile image
DeChamp Author

And jargon is expected. It's just realizing that it's ok to know always know what they are saying and just to ask! You're right when you say there is just to many difference to just create a universal language. You add in how people learn and view information differently and it makes it unique to each person.