Plain language offers benefits to writers, readers and organizations. With time and cost savings available for staff and happier clients, it makes sense to integrate it. We have great demands on our time, our minds and our budgets. Plain language is a great problem solver. Put plain language on your calendar for a clearer year ahead.
What problems can plain language solve?
If your clients, staff or volunteers aren't understanding your messages, then you have to spend time repeating instructions, clarifying procedures and answering questions. All these are unnecessary, if your original message meets these plain language guidelines:
1. is easy to understand
2. can be quickly navigated to find what is wanted
3. is clear so it can be effectively acted on.
Ask these of all your communications and see where you stand. Ask your readers for feedback.
Why integrate plain language?
Plain language is a simple process that when integrated into your writing tasks brings these benefits:
1. 50% less time spent writing
2. 40-60% less time spent reviewing
3. 50% fewer drafts needed
When you compare that to the reduced costs associated with producing information, it speaks savings. Check out our first blog of the year "Integrating clear visuals" for a closer look at how to be creative and clear at the same time.
How do I spread the word?
Plain language is a process and is best achieved with a team. You need to persuade or have a trainer or consultant sell your management team on the benefits of plain language. When the organization is ready to make the commitment, then consider a pilot project. Bringing in a trainer is helpful in developing staff skills and knowledge. It's also a great team builder. Integrate plain language practices into your style guide.
Plain language is for everyone: management, staff and clients. It works for internal and external messages. Research shows no one likes to or wants to have to read information they can't easily understand. Take the lead. Choose this year to introduce, expand or celebrate your plain language program.
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