My husband is a graphic designer, a great career that falls into the category of technical professionals along with engineers, architects, and computer specialists. Within the design world, like many other worlds, there are lots of acronyms that other designers even those in a different company should understand. One great example is the PMS system; if you are a graphic designer you probably know what that is and you’re not disgusted. However, if a graphic designer gave a presentation to a group of non-designers and referenced PMS – “eww” would be spewing out from the audience before the sentence could be finished.
For non-designers, the PMS system stands for Pantone Management System or a color matching system. For the majority of the world, PMS has a very different meaning in regards to a certain monthly cycle among females. This is a classic example of how acronyms can ruin a presentation!
Almost every field has some level of jargon that comes with it, especially if you have been in that field for a while. If talking to or with a group of people outside of your industry, you must be extremely careful on how to go about using acronyms. Be sure to explain what they mean and why you are bringing them up.
Misunderstanding can also happen within the same field of work. For example in the animal training world, horse trainers are different from marine mammal trainers, who are different from dog trainers, who are different from trainers for zoo animals. (For the record all of the training is executed exactly the same with similar principals.) The lingo on how the training is described is different among them, so even if the acronyms are the same, the acronyms mean different things to the different groups, therefore the meaning of the acronyms (again the same letters) must be explained.