Use plain English in your communication strategy to make your message clear and easy to understand
A plain English communication strategy (internal and external) means using a simple style of language that is clear and easy to understand. Plain English means eliminating jargon, overly-complicated words (when a simpler one works) and acronyms. Using the Clarity index can help make your writing easier to read. Clear writing is a skill we need to learn, it takes time, practice and thought.
Why a plain English strategy?
Plain English keeps the listener (or reader) in mind and helps share your communication strategy clearly. Communication that is clear and understood saves time and money, improves customer scores, and helps increase employee engagement levels. Elements of employee engagement enhance by plain English include employees knowing what the organisation stands for, what they need to do and how they contribute to that goal. Additionally, in South Africa, the new Consumer protection act makes plain English law.
The new Consumer protection act states that all written communication has to be in plain and clear language that the average man in the street can easily understand. The style and layout of ideas and information should be easily understood (not confusing), and all illustrations used should be relevant.
Plain English saves money and time
Research shows that plain English communication saves organisations money and reduces communication frustration. Clear communication minimises misunderstandings and complaints from customers and staff. Plain English helps reduce time and effort when training staff. Documents and policies in plain English are easier to read and understand leading to better shared information. Plain english also reduces errors when customers or staff have to follow instructions (e.g. fill in forms). When customers or staff have to read a document more than once to understand what it means, you are wasting their time.
Plain English increases confidence in your brand
Complex jargon and acronym-rich communication undermines your customer’s and employee’s confidence in your brand and products. Too much complicated legalese may make the reader feel that you are trying to hide something. We all want to understand the information we are given, particularly if we are expected to follow an instruction or sign a document. Communication in plain language allow stakeholders to make better-informed decisions in less time. This increases their trust in your communication.
How we can One Clear Message help you communicate in plain language?
We help you create messages that are clear, simple and delivered in an effective manner.
We can help you to:
- Craft a clear message in plain language
- Develop a strategy and steps to introduce plain language into your organisation
- Do a communications audit
- Develop a style guide to ensure your communication is clear, consistent and has a uniform style
A plain English communication strategy help engage your audience and reduce confusion.
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