Last week as part of our Wednesday series on writing better web copy, I ended by talking about how you should even avoid using jargon when speaking to people who would typically understand that jargon. Here’s why. One of my favorite marketing books called Neuromarketing talks about how our brains are wired. It talks a lot about the “cave man brain” and how parts of our brain think differently. The front of the brain thinks about abstract things and can grasp complex ideas. However, the back of the brain, the part that makes most decisions, is dumb like a cave man. (Sorry Geico cave man) That part of the brain thinks about survival. “Hmm. Me need food.” It’s concerned with things like where it’s going to get its next mean and shelter and safety. It’s the part of the brain that is very selfish and is only concerned with what’s best for you. Since it’s not very sophisticated, for your brain to fully comprehend anything, you have to first pass the information through the front of your brain, hand it off to the cave man brain and spit it out the other end. If the concept requires too much thinking, most people’s brains will stall out and neglect to get that thought all the way through from point A to point B.
If, on the other hand, you avoid using jargon, the cave man brain can handle the lingo and not get hung up trying to decipher what you’re trying to say. Does that make sense? Hopefully the cave man brain in your head didn’t stall out. Please don’t take that as if I’m being demeaning. It’s just human nature. We all have that same brain structure. It’s not about intelligence. In fact, even the most intelligent people still have the cave man brain.
The cave man brain is a very important part of our lives. It’s the part of the brain that kicks in when you’re about to be hit by a bus. The smarter, front-part of your brain would sit there and analyze the situation, thinking about things like the color of the bus and whether or not those bugs on the rapidly-approaching bumper should be washed off. It’s the cave man brain that says “Run!!!”
While the cave man brain is great for getting you to safety, it’s not great at reading comprehension so keep your sentences simple. Avoid the jargon, no matter how intelligent you think your readers may be. Dumb it down and ultimately improve your website design.