We all strive to harness the power of words. They are the fundamental building blocks of communication. No matter the channel, no matter the goal, the accuracy of the words we use is vital. But that accuracy goes beyond technical precision. Words are not neutral and must be wielded with caution and forethought. The words we choose can determine the way in which our messages are received and whether or not they are acted upon.
So then, one of the first steps in good BCC is simply choosing the right words. But this is easier said than done. The words we use must be technically accurate yet easily understood; culturally appropriate yet strong enough to motivate change.
Luckily, there are guides to help us navigate the changing terminology of public health’s technical fields.
It is important to note that while helpful, each of these sources serve only as recommendations. Technical fields are constantly evolving and changing. New terms will be created and others will fall into misuse. While it can be difficult, it is vital to keep up with current terminology and technical usage. The resources listed here offer a few ways to help you do just that.
Guest blogger Beth Skorochod is a consultant in the HIV department.