Define Your Terms, Please

Here’s what happened to me yesterday. I was enjoying an excellent book on giving PowerPoint presentations when I came upon a term I wasn’t familiar with: wipes. I checked the book for a glossary—none existed. So I checked the index for wipes and found the term listed there. However, in each mention of the term wipes in the book, it was never defined or illustrated. Giving up on finding a good definition, I simply guessed the meaning.

This happened to me repeatedly, with the terms builds, box-out transitions, and watermarked slides. At this moment, I still haven’t guessed the definition of box-out transitions and watermarked slides. (I know what watermarked letterhead is, but what is a watermarked slide?)

Maybe I ought to have known these terms, especially since I have used PowerPoint hundreds of times. If the authors had defined them for me, I would know them now.

My wish: that all business writers will think of their readers and include a glossary of terms. It will make reading even more rewarding.

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