International Association for Impact Assessment

Clear Communication: The Path to Action in Environmental and Social Impact Assessment

  • Guest post by Myriam BeaugĂ©, MAIIC

    In the intricate world of environmental and social impact assessment (IA), the power of clarity cannot be underestimated. As professionals in this field, our ability to convey complex information can determine the success or failure of critical projects and policies, and affect the health, safety, and wellness of populations in assessed regions. Here's how the 5 Golden Rules of Plain Language can transform your communication.


    Know and Focus on Your Audience
    Remember, the goal is not just to inform but to engage your target audiences so that the information you gather and share truly can be actionable. Whether you're presenting findings to community stakeholders, policymakers, funding agency representatives, or a cross-disciplinary team, tailoring your language to their level of understanding is essential. This means stepping out of the technical echo chamber to align your language (written and spoken) with what your audience can easily grasp.

      This attention to plain language should be constant, right from the time you start examining project records or head into the field. If you are gathering a lot of information, the notes you take, the questionnaires you use, and the tables that will hold the end data should all have that plain-language quality. Even rough copy needs to be clear, concise, and as complete as possible.