By Jeff Beals
I was reading a newspaper article about urban planning a couple days ago and came across this term: “continuous low-density polycentric urban formations.”
Sounds impressive but what does it mean? The answer is actually simple: “urban sprawl.”
Anyone who lives in a major U.S. metro area knows what urban sprawl is. You hear the word and immediately conjure up images of traffic jams and endless suburban development. The term was coined back in the 1950s. Most people experience urban sprawl every time they drive to work! Isn’t it much easier to say “urban sprawl” than “continuous low-density polycentric urban formations?”
Of course it is, but it’s not as impressive sounding.
In fairness, this academically imposing term was used in an exhibit at the Yale University architecture school, meaning it was intended for people who actually know what “continuous low-density polycentric urban formations” means. Nevertheless, we often and quite unnecessarily use complex phrases to describe that which can be expressed in simpler terms.
Regardless of your profession, communication is probably the most essential thing you do on any given day. It’s easy to fall into the corporate jargon or academic gibberish trap in order to sound intelligent around other accomplished people. Try to resist that temptation. Over the course of time, those people who communicate using the clearest, most unambiguous terms are the ones who are ultimately most respected.
Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (402) 637-9300.
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