Technical Language, Advice Understandability, and Perceptions of Expertise and Trustworthiness: The Case of the Financial Planner Academic Article uri icon


  • This study examines the relationships among the extent of use of technical language in an advisory context, the understandability of the advice offered, perceptions of the adviser's expertise and trustworthiness, and the subsequent persuasion effects. The responses of 186 participants, randomly assigned to view one of two videotapes (one tape low in the use of technical terms, the other high), were analysed using structural equation modelling. The results indicate that the overuse of technical language in a lay client consultation reduces clients' understanding of the advice offered. Lowered advice understandability negatively affects clients' perceptions of the professional adviser's expertise and trustworthiness and, subsequently, client's intention to seek the professional's advice.

publication date

  • June 2002