What are you talking about puddings for? The benefit of plain language in advice

Mrs Kath Sutherland, Development Officer

Association of Disabled Professionals

21 Shrewsbury Rd,

Bolton  BL1 4NW 
United Kingdom

Tel: 01204 431638  E-mail: adp.admin@ntlworld.com

Website: http://www.adp.org.uk

Type of Presentation: Workshop

Aims: To introduce advisors to the barriers of inappropriate language use.

To suggest alternative ways of ensuring that entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs understand the information with which they are provided.

To enable business advisors to become confident in their approach to plain English information provision.

Background: The Association of Disabled Professionals has supported very many disabled people into self employment. Due to the issues raised about the information provided by statutory services being inaccessible and "full of jargon", we have written a plain English Resource Guide for Disabled People and their Advisors, which has been well received, by advisors and the prospective entrepreneurs alike.

Action: The Guide Pack has been distributed to over 3500 individuals and organisations since 2007. However, the information and use of plain English has also been used to support many people, including those with English as a second language, to become entrepreneurs. We have also provided workshops and one-to-one support for thousands of disabled individuals (including those with professional backgrounds) to start up, grow and maintain their business.

Results: Comments about the information provision from the ADP have been collated. Comments include:

“Many thanks to you all for this very useful and helpful information pack. I finally feel that I have the information I need to take the plunge and start my own business.”

“Thank you so much for this pack, it is an absolute mine of useful information.”

"The guide and materials are very useful and I've got lots of leads to look into, so thanks for setting me on my way! The stories in the literature are very inspirational and rung lots of bells with me, as well as providing encouragement.”

“Thank you for sending me the printed resource guide and other information. I am going to find it extremely helpful I know. It is extremely ‘user friendly’ and it must have been very hard work to produce.”

The Guide is available in various formats upon request to adp.admin@ntlworld.com and has a subsidised cost to disabled people.

Lessons: This project has many implications for the field of entrepreneurship generally, in that the way that entrepreneurs receive information can make the difference as to whether they are able to thrive in business or whether they will face unnecessary barriers to the information that they need. Educators, advisors, policy makers and support organisations need to review the information that they are providing in order to ensure that entrepreneurs are receiving useful and accessible information.

Keywords: plain English, business terminology, accessibility, entrepreneurship, start ups, information provider

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