Plain Language - Know Your Audience

Plain Language – Know Your Audience


There is a misconception about plain language. People think it’s merely about replacing complicated words with simple ones.

It also includes the careful study of your intended audience, and moulding the communication to ensure that it is understood.

Plain Language – Know Your Audience

Here are four aspects to consider about your audience:

  1. Age: The average age of your audience will influence how easily your message is read and understood.
  2. Education: The education of your audience will influence the use of jargon, industry specific terminology and the level of language in your communication. For example, the language used between doctors will be very different to the language used between a doctor and a patient.
  3. Literacy Level: The average literacy level of your target audience will affect their ability to understand your message.
  4. Language: The manner in which you mould your communication will be influenced by whether English is your audience’s first, second or even third language.

By Michele van Eck. Michelle has a BComm in business management and law, as well as an LLB and an LLM. With specialised qualifications in corporate and contractual law, Michele writes for De Rebus and has co-authored articles for TSAR (a journal for South African law).

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