Thursday, January 24, 2013

What is Esoteric?

Let's assume that you are one of my many brilliant clients, and you are trying to present your great ideas to a public audience. One of your priorities is going to be to alter esoteric language. Also known as specialist language, it's the terms and ideas that you and your colleagues are used to throwing around but that might not be as familiar to your readers.

Here's a rule of thumb: if a word or phrase can be looked up in the dictionary and the reader can fully understand your message, then it's not too esoteric for the public audience. It might be a bit advanced or even highbrow, but it needn't necessarily be changed.

If, however, a reader needs a college degree in your subject (or even needs to Google a term and then spend thirty minutes reading about it) in order to understand your meaning, then it's too esoteric for the general public.

Please, by all means, use the word or phrase. But take a sentence or two or five to explain it in simple terms. I can help.