Plain language hit a nerve with me 20 years ago. It just made sense - clear language, client-oriented, simply designed communications. It appealed to the journalist, trainer and business sides of my persons. Now 20 years on - there is even more to be passionate about.
Plans are well underway for the second International Plain Language Day October 13. This year's celebration is a virtual conference of films on the IPLD YouTube channel and presentations on SlideShare. They will provide advice on, inspiration for and insights into how to make plain language a top organizational goal. But, why wait?
Practitioners and research can vouch for reductions in time, costs and volume of communications by applying plain language guidelines. But, most importantly, a commitment to plain language is a commitment to client relations. Let it make you stand out from the crowd.
Check out Calgary Emergency Management's plain language Household Emergency Action Plan document which was created for citizens from a variety of cultures, with different education levels and multiple languages. As Cara Katterhagen, Communication Strategist for CEM, said during a video interview (that will be shown on IPLDay 2012): "We are all fired up about plain language." They saw the value of plain language and safety. The whole city is looking at a plain language policy.
But it's not just cities and governments - everyone can take a role. It starts with voicing an interest in plain language and getting your organization talking about it. Then, choose a team - with cross-organization representation - and a pilot project to build interest, excitement and commitment. Add in a plain language plan, training and promotions. Plain language consultants are available to help out. Visit PLAIN (Plain Language Association INternational) to find out more about what is happening and get access to members' sites.
Put celebrating IPLDay on your calendar. It can be the starting point of your campaign for plain language.
Remember: "Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans."
Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005) American writer and management consultant.
Find out more on iplday.org
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Get resources at Plain Language Wizardry
Kate Harrison Whiteside has over 25 years experience in plain language, writing and editing, training and consulting.