Articles

Getting your COVID-19 communications right
3 April 2020

Getting your COVID-19 communications right

Writing clear and concise business communications with exactly the right tone is tricky at the best of times. But how do you get the right balance when communicating with your clients or staff about an invisible virus that's causing its fair share of disruption around the world? Discover 5 common traps when writing about COVID-19 and how to avoid them.  

 

How to get the most out of your writing consultant
7 February 2020

How to get the most out of your writing consultant

If you’re pushed for time or you want to give your report or flyer a professional polish, contracting a professional writer or editor is a wise investment. Qualifications, experience and expertise fluctuates wildly between writers and editors, so it’s important to take the time to get the right match. Find out how to avoid some of the pitfalls of hiring a professional writer or editor.

Plain English and the power of 'you'
6 January 2020

Plain English and the power of 'you'

Despite the global trend towards plain English workplace communications, there is a common misconception that plain English is a process of ‘dumbing down’ that is violating the English language. Word choice is a critical component of plain English. But it’s not simply a case of replacing of long word with a short one – it’s so much more than that.

What Wikipedia doesn’t tell you about plain English
20 December 2019

What Wikipedia doesn’t tell you about plain English

Plain English is not a new concept in the workplace. The NRMA recognised its value over 30 years ago when they produced plain English policies to help their customers make informed choices. Yet,  the uptake of clear, concise writing has been slow in some industries putting organisations at risk. Why is the quest for clear written communication so challenging and how can a plain English writer help?

How our evolving brains are threatening written communications
29 November 2019

How our evolving brains are threatening written communications

The Digital Age has not only revolutionised the way we work, it is also transforming the way we read. We are evolving from being deep readers invested in comprehending complex information to skim readers who ‘browse’ text. What impact does this have on the way we write at work?

Avoid these 3 plain English traps at all costs
5 August 2019

Avoid these 3 plain English traps at all costs

When we speak, most of us use plain English. Yet, many people believe they need to switch to a complicated, formal and bureaucratic style when they write at work. Several decades ago, your employer may have expected such a style in written communications. It is certainly not appropriate today. We need to take the effort to make our message crystal clear. To achieve this clarity in writing, watch out for these three common traps.

Should defined terms begin with a capital letter?
14 December 2018

Should defined terms begin with a capital letter?

Putting a capital letter at the beginning of a term that has been defined within a document is a technique sometimes used to identify these terms throughout the document. Does this technique help or hinder the reader?

Reversing the damaging effects of legalese
8 June 2018

Reversing the damaging effects of legalese

It's over 30 years since the global plain English movement began in earnest. Yet many legal documents in Australia are still incomprehensible to most of us. In some cases, even judges and experienced lawyers have difficulty understanding them. If we are to follow and practise the law, most people agree these very laws need to be clear, not obscure. If organisations are to comply with regulations, staff must clearly understand what their compliance obligations are. 

Why your organisation needs a plain English editor
18 May 2018

Why your organisation needs a plain English editor

Plain English, or as some would call it, the Queen's English, sends a clear message that you are not hiding behind unnecessarily complex language. Yet how often have you picked up a report, or received a letter that’s crammed with complex sentences and buzz words? It may be written in English, but it makes no sense whatsoever. Find out how a plain English editor gets to the point and transforms your written communications.

Getting the job done right: why plain English works
4 May 2018

Getting the job done right: why plain English works

Translating communications into plain English for public consumption has been an accepted practice in the government and private sectors for decades. But what about internal communications? When it comes to getting the job done right, plain language is critical. Yet many of these documents are still written in complex and bureaucratic language leading to errors and reputational damage.