Understand the Language Used by the Intended Audience
Language is a key element for any group of individuals and is often the best way that we express ourselves. Individuals may express themselves differently depending on with whom they are talking. For example, urban adolescents may talk a certain way and use certain words when they are with their peers, another way when they are with their health care provider and another way with their parents or relatives.
When talking about SRH issues, it is important to know what words resonate most with your intended audience. For instance, we often use the term “family planning” when talking about contraception, but many young people are not thinking about their future families just yet. “Contraception” is often a more appropriate term for youth than family planning.
Youth often prefer to use terminology among their peer group that is unknown among adults or outsiders. Sometimes this is referred to as “slang.” It is helpful to know how your intended audience communicates, the language they use and the meaning behind it so that you can find ways to incorporate this language into your messages. You can find out this information by listening carefully during focus group discussions or interviews with your intended audience. Depending on the focus of the SBCC program, you may have a specific list of terminology to discover. Try this using Worksheet #13: What Youth Say.
Make sure that the terminology you choose makes sense to and connects with your audience. Young people may want to hear their own slang when talking about sexual health or they may not. You can confirm what they want by pretesting your materials with your intended audience.
What Youth Say
What Youth Say: Zanbe