It shouldn’t take more than one reading to decipher a passage of text.
How often do you ponder a passage of text that you just can’t untangle on one reading? Every day, I expect. Today’s special for me was an email from a software firm that included terms like ‘personalisation’, ‘confidentiality provision’, ‘ecosystem partners’, ‘beta participants’, ‘busywork’ — and more!
One or two of these terms I could manage and, to be fair, the writer was trying to summarise a larger document that was even more complex. But the two very long paragraphs in the email were jam-packed with similar terms. So the overall result was that the email missed its mark. The text was dense and difficult to decipher, so I didn’t really bother to try.
Gobbledygook hides the main messages. The reader has to struggle to understand. And that makes our busy lives even busier. If they give up, they’ve wasted their time. It’s not okay.
The People’s Choice Awards give you the chance to find examples of gobbledygook in everyday communications and dob them in. Nominate the worst communications you’ve found for the Brainstrain Award. You can nominate documents or webpages from government or business organisations.
We’d love to hear from you so we can help to stamp out gobbledygook. This is your chance to change the way New Zealand communicates!