Plain language is a type of writing designed to make your client understand the text quickly, easily, and completely. It means that you write for a reader, not yourself, and make the piece as simple and as informative as possible. And, believe it or not, your business can benefit from plain language greatly.
When writing for the clients (or any reader), you ensure that they will “get” you. Because of that, you don’t have to answer their phone calls, write explanatory letters, or litigate. You avoid poor communication, save time and money, and ensure good customer service.
If you like the idea of plain language, check this article. Here, you’ll find all the necessary information to help you write for the reader and make your business succeed.
- Be Brief And Precise
- Make It Easy To Read
Be Brief And Precise
The key goal of plain language is to make it easy to understand using short and simple sentences. It is instrumental in technical document translation where information must be clear and definite. For instance, to avoid misinformation, user manuals, guidelines, and patents must be translated word for word.
Plain language is also helpful in communication across the border where cultural differences are present, and clarity is of significant priority.
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Make It Easy To Read
Plain language gets straight to the point and doesn’t confuse the reader with complicated words, lengthy explanations, or unnecessary details.
In other words, plain language makes it easy for the reader to get the message.
According to The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN), “Plain language means writing clearly so anyone can understand what you mean.”
But how do you organize your paragraphs? How do you balance the information? How do you make sure that the reader understands everything? Here are some tips:
Always Keep Your Readers In Mind
Every time you want to write something, stop and ask yourself: Who will be reading this? By doing that, you ensure that your message is crystal clear. Not only that, but you also make sure that your reader understands everything.
Make It Conversational
You don’t talk to your client in an official tone, right? A conversational tone makes your text more personal and approachable. And that helps you build relationships with your clients and leads to better results at work.
Use Lots of White Space and Subheadings
White space makes the text easier to read and creates a sense of rhythm and balance. And subheadings help the reader break up a long text into digestible pieces. And that way, they can easily get through the text without feeling overwhelmed or confused.
Make It Accessible
When writing for the clients (or readers), always ensure accessibility for people with disabilities. You should avoid any terminology that might be offensive or difficult to understand for a person with special needs.
It might be a video that’s not captioned or audio in an inaccessible format or a website that uses Flash content that is not accessible by screen readers or a PDF document that doesn’t meet WCAG standards or any other thing that prevents access by people with disabilities.
Use Visual Aids and Charts for Data Visualization
When using visual aids, make things clear for your reader by providing signposts of what they should look at next. For example, ‘see next page’ or ‘see next slide’ or ‘see image below. It helps people not get lost or distracted by something else on the page when they want to move on to the next visual aid or section in the presentation or document.
Note that this is particularly important when there are many visual aids, images, charts or tables on a single page and it can be easy for them to lose track of which is which and where they are in your document or presentation etc.
Proofread Your Text Before Publication
A spelling or grammatical mistake can damage your reputation and credibility.. And that can prevent you from building your business relationships successfully. So, make sure you proofread your text and avoid mistakes.
Choose Your Writing Style
Plain language is a must in business communications. It helps to share your message quickly, easily, and clear with your clients or readers. Remember to avoid jargon as much as possible because it can lead to misunderstandings.
When using plain language in your business communications, choose the writing style that matches the content and your audience. Decide how you want to address your readers and in what manner.
Enrich Your Vocabulary
If you want to use plain language in your business communications, but you want it to sound engaging, try using different vocabulary. For example, instead of writing “We will help you with this issue”, you should say something like “We will resolve this problem”. That way, your readers can visualize your words better and understand them quicker.
As you can see, both technical and marketing writers use plain language. It is proven to be a successful tool if used according to the tips presented above.
Its primary goal is to convey direct and clear messages to your customers and clients regardless of age, cultural background, or education level. Visual aids and engaging vocabulary can improve plain language – and still be transparent and adequate.
You will notice that your readers perceive your messages fast and efficiently. They can even remember them longer as you keep communicating with them in brief and simple sentences.