Plain Language Is An Opportunity

Plain Language Is An Opportunity

Writing is a core competency and all business writing must comply with Plain Language Legislation. Plain language is an opportunity for businesses to communicate.

This means we need to write in plain language when we write proposals, contracts, policy documents, stakeholder reports, emails, agendas, minutes, memos, text messages, and tender documents.

Plain Language means communicating so that nobody misunderstands your writing.

Writing is the ‘new’ skill you should already have. However, clear communication in business is rare. Writing big words may make you feel clever. However, you’ll end up feeling stupid when clients and colleagues don’t understand you. Plain language makes sense. When good communication exists, people co-operate.

If you implement a ‘One Voice’ framework for your company, and invest in your staff’s writing skills, clear communication saves you time and money. 

Plain Language is an opportunity. It is not a threat.

A ‘One Voice’ framework will create writing guidelines. A great company usually has a style guide for their employees to follow.

This serves as your continued professional development programme for communications. It also ensures a growing level of competency in your company and your stakeholders will know that you are exercising good governance.

(In South Africa: Laws regulate industry. Legislation requires you write in Plain Language. You cannot ignore this because you conduct most of your business in writing. The New Companies Act, Kings III, The Consumer Protection Act and The National Credit Act regulate the way you write in business. These laws demand that people understand everything you write.) 

What is Plain Language?

Read the Legal Definition

Two Options

You have two options with plain language legislation. Improve internal and external communications, or wait for the fallout and litigate.

If you want to improve your business writing, buy The Complete Grammar Workbook.

Posted on: 12th October 2011

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