Expertise and clarity People sometimes assume that plain language principles only apply to simple content. They think that a technical audience will not appreciate reading about complicated systems or theories in plain language. Experience has taught me the opposite is true. The more complex information is, the greater the benefit from sharing it plainly. Have … Continue reading Making the Complex Plain
Structuring Information Plainly
The three goals of content structure If you'll remember the definition in my first blog of this series, plain language communication makes it easy for people to: Find the information they need. Understand the information. Put that information to use. Source: Plain Language Association International. (2021). What is plain language? https://plainlanguagenetwork.org/plain-language/what-is-plain-language/ You might assume that … Continue reading Structuring Information Plainly
Who Are Your Readers?
Big shoes to fill The best written information is of no use if it isn't what people need. It's not enough to be accurate and clear. People need to find what they're looking for easily. Step one in any writing project, big or small, is to put yourself in the shoes of your readers. What … Continue reading Who Are Your Readers?
The Benefits of Plain Language
The language of sharing ideasPeople who work in complex and highly technical fields sometimes mistake the intention of plain language. They worry that they are being asked to dumb down their message, that they won't be allowed to capture the nuances of their field, and they might sound less knowledgeable. But specialized language is perfectly … Continue reading The Benefits of Plain Language
Making Writing Easier to Read
These simple mechanical fixes will make your business writing easier to read.
Verbs: The Muscle of Language
When it comes to business writing, nothing gives your ideas more power than a carefully chosen verb. A strong verb drives home a point, carries the weight of your ideas, and motivates your readers. These four simple tips can help you choose verbs with real muscle. Whatever your reason for writing, whomever you are writing … Continue reading Verbs: The Muscle of Language
Six Tips for Revising Solo
When you don't have much time You've written a report or a proposal, and you need to send it out ASAP. In a better world, you would have time to check with other experts and get a professional edit, but the clock is ticking. The report or proposal has to go out now. You have a … Continue reading Six Tips for Revising Solo
Story Building 101
The power of story Stories are powerful tools in business. A good story focuses attention and motivates people to change. We can use stories to illustrate the application of theory or to give people a real-world context for practising skills. Stories can even be offered whole or incomplete. If you've never used a story set-up to … Continue reading Story Building 101
Lend an Ear to Your Readers
What do your readers actually need? As a business writer, I'm sure you know how important it is to listen. Everything we do begins with a conversation and our job is to make sure the conversation leads to understanding. Here's a simple truth: People don't read technical content that is not useful to them. If within … Continue reading Lend an Ear to Your Readers
Validating Technical Documents
The extra step Even when you do a thorough needs analysis, create a solid document plan, and test a prototype before completing development, the job of validating technical content is not over. Subject matter experts will review the technical accuracy and completeness. That is an essential step, but still there is more. If you are genuinely … Continue reading Validating Technical Documents