Is Jargon Killing Your Tech Team?

This post is a bit of a departure from some of our normal topics here at Great Church Sound. But you’d be surprised at how something so simple can cause so many problems.


It’s sort of an ugly word all by itself.

We use jargon all the time – especially in tech circles!

“Hey, can you tweak the pot on that lo-z input so the op amp doesn’t distort? And while you’re at it, spike the jazz box balun.”

Ok, well… You might not put it exactly like that, but if you chain enough of these silly words together, the conversation just sounds ridiculous!

Here’s the Problem

The words we use and the way we throw them around in casual banter within our tech circles can feel incredibly exclusive and off-putting for new volunteers or those who may want to join the tech team.

And we can confuse our poor assistants to the point that they don’t even know what we’re asking them to do! It’s bad for everyone.

Bantering around with a bit of jargon can be great way to have fun and liven things up while going about the sometimes mundane tasks of setting up equipment.

Just be aware that not everyone on your tech team may know or understand what you’re talking about. And definitely don’t make them feel bad for not knowing something.

I remember the first time someone asked me what I did with the attenuator for the lobby speakers.


And then I had to ask, “what’s an attenuator?”

Oh, you mean a volume control! Got it.

I’ve learned a lot of great lessons from my mentors and other experienced AV professionals in my career. But one of the biggest things I’ve learned is to treat people with respect and not to lord it over someone if they don’t know what a scratchy pot is. Instead, use it as a fun, teachable moment.

The Jargon Dictionary for Audio Geeks (and more)

Sometimes you just can’t avoid jargon. It’s the right term for the right scenario. Just make sure the people you’re talking to understand what you’re talking about.

Here are two helpful resources you can share with your team members.

#1: The infamous PAR (pro audio reference) by Dennis Bohn. This is a treasure trove of terms and definitions that can be incredibly useful in your live sound work.

#2: TheatreCrafts Glossary of Technical Theatre Terms. This resource contains over 2,250 terms that you might find in use from Broadway to Hollywood to the church next door.

I’m sure you’ll learn a few new words and meanings today. I know I did!

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