Plain English Business Writing

Our plain English training is a must for organisations who want their staff to write in plain English. For us, something can be said to be in plain English if its wording, structure and design are so clear that the target audience can quickly and easily understand and use it. For example:

Before: In accordance with your request, and in consideration of the fact that significant time has elapsed, it is incumbent upon you to facilitate the identification of the certificate. It would be appreciated if you would ascertain this information in a timely manner. (42 words)

After: To meet your request, we need you to find and send us a copy of your certificate as soon as possible. (21 words)

We are experienced in providing in-house training for state government bodies, companies and local councils. These organisations trust us to pitch courses at an appropriate level, to respect and develop the existing knowledge and skills of their staff, and to provide useable writing and editing tips and techniques.

Our courses are tailored to meet your writers’ needs, which we identify through discussions with you and by studying examples of their writing in advance. The style is informal and participative, with practical work, quizzes and group work.

To ensure the lessons are not forgotten, attendees take away our helpful Professional Writing Reference Booklet and plain English tips flyer for their desk.

Topics

Our plain English courses teach our eight plain English principles and how to apply these to writing websites, policy documents, case studies, briefing papers, annual reports and more. We can email you a generalised program on request, but our training typically includes:

  • refresher on the basics: structure, sentence length, everyday English, punctuation and essential grammar
  • writing myths explained and exposed
  • how to write plain English
  • close examination of “before and after” samples using a mix of APM work and client-supplied examples.

Our plain English writing courses can also be tweaked to reflect a particular bias, for example:

  • Writing Better Policy Documents
  • More Effective Report Writing
  • Writing Better Emails, Letters and Other Communications
  • Grammar and Punctuation Workout
  • Writing Ministerial and Other Briefing documents
  • Writing for the Web.

General Aims and Benefits of Our Courses

  • reduced costs associated with staff having to work with unclear, poorly structured content
  • staff producing clear, well-punctuated and well-structured writing that fulfils its purpose
  • increasing staff efficiency by improving their planning of written work
  • enabling staff to identify good writing and rectify sub-standard work
  • helping staff decide when writing is “fit to go”, and therefore when to avoid unnecessary alterations.

Number of Participants, Follow-Up and One-To-One Training and Duration

  • Generally courses cater for up to 15 participants in order to ensure that individual attendees have a full grasp of the concepts.
  • All attendees receive follow-up support to reinforce your training investment.
  • One-on-one coaching is also available by special arrangement.
  • Courses run over a half day, a full day or an agreed number of weeks. We also offer a one-hour Motivator and a two-hour Power Session.

Assessments of our courses

‘It was refreshing to be taught by people who could take an independent look at our written work. Their comments and criticisms were constructive. I found them approachable and their enthusiasm motivating.’ Department of Environment and Primary Industries.

‘We learnt that by trying too fit to much in to a document you actually end up confusing people. And that defeats the basic purpose of communication.’ EPA Victoria