Business Delivery

It’s All Geek to Me

The description of the fictitious Turbo Encabulator has long been used by engineers to warn against the use of technobabble. It has a lengthy and fascinating history, which includes this 1977 performance by Bud Haggart.

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There is most definitely a lesson here about avoiding the use of confusing jargon in our presentations. We should be conscious of our audience and sensitive to their familiarity with the terms that we use. We should only use jargon, acronyms and other technical terms if we are sure that our audience will understand them. If there is the slightest chance that they won’t understand, then we need to simplify our language. Remember, if they can’t understand your message, they can’t adopt it.

Here at Duarte, we also saw this as a challenge. We believe that visuals can help bring clarity to otherwise confusing information. So, we took this on as an exercise in graphic recording, wondering if illustrating this epic masterpiece of nerd-dom might somehow make sense out of the confusion. Here are the results of our efforts:

Now re-listen to the video while looking at the visual. Does it help? Can using a visual make even a purposely confusing, technical-jargon-filled message clearer? What do you think?

So, if you have very technical information to convey, consider evaluating the words you use and eliminating jargon that won’t resonate with your audience. Then, visualize! Use a picture to replace those thousand (technical) words. If you do, your presentations will be so strong, it will be as if they are powered by the modial interactions of magneto reluctance and capacitive deractants!

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  • Ha-ha, excellent example that visualization doesn’t help if there is no message… I believe very much in visualization, but it cannot clarify a message that is non-existent and unclear in the first place. Of course visualization could also be used in an unethical manner to create the illusion of structure and meaning and working towards making the audience feel even “more stupid” as “they went to so much trouble”… 

    • Eric Alberton

      Reinhardt, thanks!  Insightful point!

  • Ha-ha, excellent example that visualization doesn’t help if there is no message… I believe very much in visualization, but it cannot clarify a message that is non-existent and unclear in the first place. Of course visualization could also be used in an unethical manner to create the illusion of structure and meaning and working towards making the audience feel even “more stupid” as “they went to so much trouble”… 

    • Eric Alberton

      Reinhardt, thanks!  Insightful point!

  • LED tube light

    working towards making the audience feel even “more stupid” as “they went to so much trouble

  • LED tube light

    working towards making the audience feel even “more stupid” as “they went to so much trouble

  • Sunil Kherwa

    Inspired by Durate, check out my crudely conceived idea of a turbovisualator at http://sunilkherwa.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/making-sense-of-nonsense/

    • Eric Albertson

      Sunil,

      Cool!  How fun that you took it a step further.  Great job!

      Eric

  • Sunil Kherwa

    Inspired by Durate, check out my crudely conceived idea of a turbovisualator at http://sunilkherwa.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/making-sense-of-nonsense/

    • Eric Albertson

      Sunil,

      Cool!  How fun that you took it a step further.  Great job!

      Eric

  • Sinus Pressure

    Nice blog but can you elaborate more info about this, Thanks!

  • Sinus Pressure

    Nice blog but can you elaborate more info about this, Thanks!

  • Fred Miller

    That was outstanding!

    No one wants to feel dumb, and techno speak is a great way to lose your audience quickly.
    Jargon and buzz words do not impress people.  They lose them.

    Clean and Simple Rules!

    Thanks for the great reminder and example.

  • Fred Miller

    That was outstanding!

    No one wants to feel dumb, and techno speak is a great way to lose your audience quickly.
    Jargon and buzz words do not impress people.  They lose them.

    Clean and Simple Rules!

    Thanks for the great reminder and example.

  • Sinus Rinse

    Thank you for the efforts you made in writing this post.

  • Sinus Rinse

    Thank you for the efforts you made in writing this post.

  • Sinus Rinse

    thanks for both writing it up and posting it.

  • Sinus Rinse

    thanks for both writing it up and posting it.

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