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How do I drop the jargon?

Use plain language

1. Swap jargon for plain language.

For example: Swap ‘facilitate’ for ‘help’. Here’s a useful resource to help.

2. Use the active voice, identifying who is doing the action.

For example: Change ‘The prescription can be picked up by you at the pharmacy’ to ‘You can pick up the prescription at the pharmacy’.

3. Use ‘you’ and ‘we’ to talk directly to the person you’re speaking to.

The person is ‘you’. The health service or government agency is ‘we’. This will help engage your audiences.

4. Keep your sentences short.

5. Avoid clichés.

For example: ‘give me a hand’

6. Explain any jargon you need to use.

If there is no plain language alternative, use jargon but explain the term the first time you use it.

7. Avoid abbreviations and acronyms.

And if you do use them, explain what they are and spell them out.

More resources here.

Have plain language descriptions of confusing terms at your fingertips

Use plain language dictionaries to help you convert jargon into language that is easy to understand.

Some examples:
Easy English Resources of health Translations
Accessible Information – Easy English and Plain Language
PlainMed app
Plain Language Medical Dictionary
Plain language legal glossary

Check understanding

To check if a person understands, ask them to explain or demonstrate what you said. If the person doesn’t explain it correctly or misses vital points, re-teach the information. This isn’t a test of the consumer’s knowledge; it’s a test of how well you’ve communicated.

Try using the teach-back technique

Teach-back is one of the easiest ways to check you’ve succeeded in communicating. It involves:

1. Emphasising that it’s your responsibility to explain things clearly

2. Asking the consumer to explain in their own words the main points from what you’ve said.

Source: Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services Communication and Health Literacy Toolkit.

Check out this video for an example –  Here’s a video that demonstrates the teach-back technique in a hepatitis B context.

Low English proficiency

When you are working with people with limited English proficiency, you should use interpreters and/or translations services.

Have a look at these language services information sheets produced by the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity & Health that explain how to access and use interpreters and translation services effectively.

Resources to promote and celebrate the day:

  1. Run a lunchtime quiz. Download Quiz (pdf)
  2. Put up posters at your workplace. Download Posters A4, A3, A2
  3. Share this video on your website, or via social media. Video to share https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_-PT1HokT4
  4. Add a banner to your website or social media. Download banners: Large 1440 x 498px Smaller 997 x 345px

Use these images to promote clear communication on social media (purposefully created for Instagram, Facebook etc)

SQUARE IMAGES (1920 x 1080px)

LANDSCAPE IMAGES (1920 x 1080px)