Esperanto is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language … an easy-to-learn and politically neutral language that transcends nationality and (that) would foster peace and international understanding between people with different regional and/or national languages. – Wikipedia
Advancement professionals can unwittingly cause division and dissent by making poor language choices. We need Esperanto for Advancement: language choices which foster understanding among all those who work to build support for an institution.
A friend recently said he tries to “speak the language of engagement” when talking about his work. What is the language of engagement? I think it is a matter of choosing words that reflect an appreciation of the whole person and their relationship with an institution. It is too easy to choose language that dehumanizes those people who care enough to be involved with the institution. They are our graduates, alums, and friends, not “prospects” or “suspects.” Taking this idea further, there are other language choices we can make when talking together about the work. For example,
choose conversation rather than move discover identify engage cultivate follow-up close thank steward group segment involve qualify assess rate
There are countless other examples, I’m sure, and I encourage you to use the comment box to add to the list above. It’s not a matter of eliminating jargon, it’s embracing a corollary to the golden rule, “speak of others as you wish they would speak about you.”
In addition, pay attention to the language that you use to describe co-workers, choosing words that are inclusive and that honor the various roles played in the advancement enterprise, not language that can create a divide. For example, try using “colleagues” rather than “them” when talking about other members of the staff. Doing otherwise can allow tension to develop between groups of people who should be working together. The language you use will set an internal tone for the advancement team and will help determine language choices as your colleagues communicate with constituents.