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Getting the message across to laypeople

So when you’re talking about a topic that the average layperson wouldn’t know much about, there are a few things you can do to help them grasp the topic. You need for them to understand the topic, otherwise all your well presented arguments and discussion won’t have an effect. For the reader to be impressed with what you’ve written, you need them to have a rough idea of what you’re talking about.

When you’re giving the reader some background information to ‘bring them up to speed’ on a topic, start with the easiest stuff and gradually get into the harder to explain stuff. That way, they are eased gently into it, rather than being hit straight-up with a lot of confusing information.

When you’re discussing the topic, you may need to simplify some of the discussion to make it easier for the reader. There is quite a fine line to tread here though - if you oversimplify too much, at least two undesirable things may happen:

  1. You lose some of the meaning of the topic - you might drop out important subtleties by oversimplifying.

  2. Readers may get annoyed if they perceive you’re patronising them - using ‘baby talk’. Remember, you’re writing for a layperson who doesn’t have specific knowledge of this particular topic. It doesn’t mean they have no intelligence, just little knowledge in this particular area.