Plain is Good..Is Plain Good?

Last week I attended a two day work shop, which was presented by Dr. Bosley -The Plain Language Group. This work shop provided me many useful tools when writing and editing material. At the end of the work shop, it was required for all participants to present a 5-10 minute mini lessons. The purpose of this mini lesson, was to ensure everyone understood “something” from the work shop, and were able to present it to others.

So what is plain language?

Plain language is a simple way to communicate with others. This could be through documents, e-mails, texts, websites, books, talking, blogs, etc.

The work shop provided a 7 step checklist for writing more efficiently and more effectivity.

  1. Planning
  2. Drafting
  3. Revising
  4. Planning and Analyzing
  5. Organizing
  6. Writing with style
  7. Formatting with design

By following this checklist and using these tools, I’m able to transform a document and make it simpler to read. Please compare the two examples below:


BEFORE The reason computerization of this process is being recommended is because it reduces the time required to obtain data and gives more accurate data.

AFTER We recommend computerizing the process to get accurate data more quickly.

The AFTER version is much easier to read. This was done by simply changing the way sentences are wrote.

What else?

When writing we must also consider the following:

  • Use active voices
  • Use positive language
  • Show a positive attitude
  • Minimize wordiness
  • Limit Jargon
  • Use transitions
  • Add visuals

Now what?

Working in the Middle East and teaching technical data to ESL students (English as a Second Language), is a difficult task. Having tools to help simplify learning resources and assessments, will add value for both the student and the instructor.

Currently, my department at CNA-Q is undertaking a redevelopment project. This project consists rewriting all related curriculum documents. Having this new knowledge allows me to teach others the importance of “Plain Language”. Over the next few months, I will complete a Train-To-Trainer session with my peers to ensure they have the skills to simply communicate with others.




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