Why is plain language important in your field/work?
Everything we do at Statistics Sweden is profoundly communication-intensive. Our main task is to collect data from individuals, private companies and the public sector. After refining the data to statistics, we supply it to authorities, researchers, journalists, companies and the general public. Our success depends heavily on how well we adapt our language to the purpose, audience, message, etc. In addition, the Swedish plain language law from 2009 forces us to use plain language.
What is your presentation focus, and what are some of the key points participants will learn?
I would like to show how you can start promoting plain language work, with little preparation, in an organisation that is new to plain language. What we are doing is to try to inspire colleagues with no previous experience of plain language to collaborate and to find their own drive to change, based on how Statistics Sweden communicates.
What is the best plain language advice you can give, or have received?
The best plain language advice I ever received was to prioritize. This was important advice for me because prioritzing is easy in theory. Every plain language practitioner agrees that you can’t fix everything that you know can be improved with plain language. But, sticking to this principle in your daily activities is a different story. To select areas to focus your plain language work on takes a lot of effort, clever thinking and planning. I think every plain language practitioner needs to think about prioritization to be good at their job.