If people are experiencing intense emotion, it will be harder for them to listen to and comprehend messages. Make it easier for them.
- Be specific
- When you tell people what to do, make sure that the instructions are precise and unambiguous.
- Use plain language!
- Reach as many people as possible, taking into account those with lower levels of reading and science literacy and also those with higher levels of outrage. Stay clear of jargon, use familiar vocabulary and keep your sentence structure simple.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat
- People might not hear you the first time, so repeat your messages and deliver them through multiple communication channels.
- Use visuals
- Illustrations, pictograms, and infographics can make it easier to understand complex information, especially for lower literacy groups. Leave white space on the page—if the information looks too dense, it's less accessible.
We discuss what makes messages work in the later section on Message Development. For more information on plain language, visit plainlanguage.gov.