Simple, plain language is usually the best for presentations. This is especially true when you are speaking at conferences, to groups where people are from different agencies and different roles and to groups where there are non-law enforcement people in the audience.
You have likely been to presentations, or listened to podcast interviews where it sounds like the speaker was using big words simply to show everyone how smart they are. If people do not understand your message, then it was not smart to use that language. If people have to continually consult a dictionary to know what you are talking about, that is not good. If people in your presentation are wondering what the hell all those acronyms mean, that is not good.
The concept that simple, plain language is usually the best is not an insult to the intelligence of the audience. Your goal should be to communicate in a manner that everyone in the audience understands. Not every agency uses the same codes to refer to the nature of calls so simply refer to the type of call you or the officers in the story responded to. Acronyms can mean different things to different people so if you are going to use an acronym, then be sure to explain what it means. If you need to use a technical term, then make sure you understand what it means and make sure you explain it.
At the ILEETA conference in 2019 there were a couple of groups of instructors from countries in Europe and Asia in attendance. One group brought an interpreter, as not all their people were fluent in English. I was amazed at the interpreter’s ability to translate in real time what the presenter was saying. When I asked the interpreter what feedback he would have for our presenters he said, “Have them speak slower and not use slang and acronyms.” One of the other international groups did not bring an interpreter as they all spoke English. English however was not their first language and they had the same feedback as the interpreter as they struggled at times to keep up and to understand the slang terms and acronyms used by some of the presenters.
Now, if you are speaking to a small group of people who you work with every day, and those people are all familiar with the acronyms and the technical terminology then by all means use that language. Make sure however, that when you go to present to a different audience on the work you are doing or to present your proposal or your findings that you adjust the language for each new audience.
When in doubt, stick with simple, plain language.
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