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Communication Forum Scotland

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Communication Support Principles

Principle 3
Principle 3

Match the way you communicate to the ways people understand.

To get your message across face to face:

  • look at the person
  • make sure your face can be seen and your mouth is not covered
  • give people time to understand what you are saying
  • use short simple, clear sentences
  • avoid jargon (i.e. words that are not used every day) and explain abbreviations
  • slow your speech down, speak clearly and regularly summarise what is said
  • match the expression in your voice to what you are saying
  • support what you are saying with gestures and facial expression
  • use photographs, drawings and symbols to illustrate what you are saying
  • offer to write down key words as you talk
  • offer audio / video recordings for people to take away with them
  • find out if people have understood.

Audio quote Audio quote: Bill

Audio quote Audio quote: James

To get your message across in printed and online information:

  • use short simple sentences
  • avoid jargon (i.e. words not used every day) and explain abbreviations
  • use simple, uncluttered layout with plenty of space
  • use a clear font e.g. arial or comic sans
  • use a minimum font size of 12 point (some people will require a larger font)
  • consider line spacing (a spacing of 1.5 lines is easier for many people)
  • use clear visuals, such as symbols, photographs and drawings, to emphasise the message in the text
  • use moving visuals like videos and DVDs, with simple, succinct sentences and story lines
  • check people have understood
  • consider the accessibility of online information as well as printed information.

Audio quote Audio quote: Lindsay 

Audio quote Audio quote: Linda

Audio quote Audio quote: T J


More information Asking questions: how to make it easier for people to answer

More information ecommunication and accessibility

More information Sources of visual images to make information easier to understand