A corporate communicator’s guide to abbreviations

Though you should take care to avoid jargon in your pitches, press releases and other copy, you will probably encounter many of these business abbreviations.

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Not only do we use our own department abbreviations (such as NFP), but there is additional shorthand from other departments, including accounting, human resources, legal and IT.

Communicators use abbreviations—especially the three-letter variety—to save time. It’s much faster to say (or write) CPC than “cost per click.” Unfortunately, not everyone knows what CPC means, and if an abbreviation is not defined immediately, its meaning can get lost.

Be careful not to rely too heavily on abbreviations, either—they can be writing pitfalls, along with other jargon. The AP Stylebook offers the following advice:

Abbreviations & acronyms: Often a shorthand term is clearer than a complex abbreviation.#APStyleChat

— AP Stylebook (@APStylebook) February 10, 2015

However, you’ll still probably encounter many abbreviations, whether you use them in your copy or not. ( Editor’s note: An acronym is a particular type of abbreviation, created when initials form a word or pronounceable name: scuba, ZIP code, NASA, FEMA.)

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