(excuse me for my not good english)

This happens me once in a while and happened lately: I am in a meeting in the same room with my client and someone (one person or more) from a web agency, or some company's salesman, or someone from marketing department.

This third person start to embellish the talk with totally unnecessary technical jargon, abstruse words, acronym, and similar, sometimes even without knowing exactly or deeply what is under these words.

I know exactly what is happening, that person wants to mesmerize/impress the other present people like: "I know everything, I am a guru and you are noone in the field so you must shut up and trust me 100%, now sign the contract". (Then the client will get some scam service or similar.)

The fact is that this person could have explained the same things using normal simple words and concepts, thing that most of the times I do after the main meeting, me and the client alone.

Imagine the client who can be a 68 years old very expert carpenter or a young chef but with very little or zero computer/internet/e-commerce/etc. knowledge and he wants me to be present for any help or consulence.

Now happened a few times that this third person says one or more abstruse word or acronym that the client expects me to know, but I don't know because it's not exactly my field even if it's close, or it's something that I knew but in the moment I don't remember, or simply I have never encountered since now.

What is the best answer or behaviour to have in this situation to avoid to give the impression of incompetence, appear confused, or avoid to give clumsy answers to the present people?

2 Answers 2


Quiet confidence gets me the kind of clients I want. Bold, boisterous, technical arrogance often garners clients I don't want. It all comes down to a person's selling style really.

I actually get more clients because I don't use jargon or technical-speak when explaining things. I rely on cues from clients as to the level of techno-speak I'll use. I'll explain something in plain English, they may reply with "Oh, You mean XXXX." That lets me know they understand that and I can go deeper into technical talk about it.

It never bothers me when someone goes overboard into jargon or techno-speak. I merely watch the client. If they start to appear confused or lost I may reiterate something in simple terms. Politely, of course, without interrupting or trying to talk over anyone else.

I never want to treat anyone as if they are stupid, dumb or ignorant. However, I also never want to assume someone understands all aspects of my career. They are hiring me specifically because I understand things more in depth than they ever will. I don't need to "flex" that knowledge unnecessarily. Chances are they aren't very interested in learning the language of my career. They merely want something done well. If other's feel the need to do so, that is their choice. I find that if a client feels there's a "learning curve" to working with you, that's a deterrent, not a selling point.

In my experience, clients prefer understanding things. Overloading them with industry-specific terminology, jargon, or technical terms does not aide in a client's understanding. Faced with two candidates -- one who explains things so they understand and one who bombards them with jargon -- most of the time, they'll pick the candidate they understand.


While it is annoying having other people show off, this could work to your advantage, as the contrast between their redundant word-salad and your client-targeted communication will be quite evident.

Don't assume clients are always easily 'impressed' by tech-speak. Many smaller clients prefer a technical partner/advisor who will speak their language. A good option is to - as much as possible - not let yourself be affected and continue addressing the client the way you prefer. Whenever they try to complicate this issue you should explain it in an understandable way.

Example: Client is unsure whether Linux would be a better choice than Windows, because this seems like a technical problem they feel they cannot even begin to evaluate.

Instead of naming a dozen distributions and plain-stakingly explaining the differences, turn it into a business decision by exploring which business parameters are important to the client: Licensing fees, 24/7 support, resource availability - and arrive at a recommendation based on client feedback.

Many of the people displaying the behavior you describe seem unable to convert technical issues into client-understandable business problems. If you can, then merely stay on point and reduce them to a useless background noise.

  • Indeed it did. Edited now. Thanks.
    – morsor
    Nov 21, 2019 at 9:19

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