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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Less is More -- using plain language at work and why I love twitter | Karen Payton, Bright Communications

The whole point of communication is to share information so if you’re using language that makes the content unclear or inaccessible to your audience you are not communicating well. When your readers or listeners do not clearly understand the information you’ve presented to them the message they walk away with may be entirely different from what you intended.
That is the key message I emphasize when I'm advocating for the use of plain language. But put another way: If your readers don't understand what you're telling them -- and they don't respond as you hope in some way -- why waste time, resources and energy writing to them? You have better things to do, right?

If you don't like the answers to those questions, it's your responsibility -- and not the responsibility of your readers -- to make sure you and your organization are writing documents your readers can understand and use. In other words, use plain language!

Payton writes:
[P]lain language is clear, using only necessary words and presents information in a straightforward, logical way. This ensures your audience gets the message quickly and clearly
Payton then explains three reasons (time, trust and Twitter) why use of plain language has become even more important.

And she concludes [emphasis added]:
Plain language is not dumbing things down and taking an overly simplified approach to language. In fact, it can be harder to get your thoughts out clearly using plain language. ... Remember, we’re in a time-starved environment where every minute counts before you lose someone’s attention so don’t waste their time (and yours) on loquacious, perplexing linguistic gymnastics.
For more information on clear, concise writing, check out Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide. It provides advice on these topics:

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