Writing in Plain Language means Treating Customers Fairly

Discover how easy it is to write in plain language. Discover how simple it is to write in a reader-friendly style.

Writers Write offers a comprehensive business writing programme with emphasis on plain language as defined in the Consumer Protection Act, The National Credit Act, The New Companies Act and the Treating Customers Fairly guidelines.

We cover syntax, spelling and grammar across releases, web copy, features, interviews, newsletters, email and more.

If you choose to train with The Plain Language Programme, you achieve three results.  

  1. You have trained writers. Clear writing is crucial for commercial success in the 21st Century.
  2. Your employees will write according to plain language legislation. This saves you time and money.
  3.  You develop a One Voice concept for internal communications. This allows staff, across departments, to understand one another.

Why choose us?

The Plain Language Programme runs over four days from 9am to 1pm. The course is interactive with written exercises every 20 to 30 minutes to reinforce the theory shared in class. We also limit the classes to 10 delegates to ensure participation and information retention. We are able to tailor the course to suit a company’s needs for groups of ten or more.

Your staff members acquire a priceless life skill. Clear writing opens worlds of opportunity.

We cover:

  • Email Etiquette
  • Writing techniques that market and promote 
  • Grammar - including active voice, phrase-free sentences and basic punctuation 

We include:

  • A Plain Language Style Guide 
  • The 20 Most Important Words in Business, Readability Statistics, and The Rule of Three
  • Structures for newsletters, press release templates, interview techniques 

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If you want to improve your business writing skills, join us for The Plain Language Programme

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

Plain Language is a Democratic Right

The article, Around the world in plain words, explains that one of the failures in using plain language stems from government. 

The continued use of garbled and unclear language in legislation creates uncertainty. Problems arise around issues of interpretation. The article says that the ability to understand what is being communicated, in particular from government to its citizens, is a democratic right. 

In South Africa, legislation like the Consumer Protection Act has obliged businesses to use plain language when communicating with their customers. 

Communication remains at the heart of our changing society. Whether the message is being exchanged between two people, or numerous countries, it must start with language that is familiar to, and appropriate for the intended audience.” 

Source: The European Policitcal Newspaper, “Around the world in plain words” by Marie Clair (Plain English Campaign) http://www.neurope.eu/blog/around-world-plain-words 8 April 2012. 

By Michele van Eck, Writers Write Consultant 

Michele has a BComm in business management and law, as well as an LLB and an LLM. With specialized qualifications in corporate and contractual law, Michele writes for De Rebus and has co-authored articles for TSAR (a journal for South African law). 

If you want to improve your business writing skills, join us for The Plain Language Programme

~~~~~

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

Plain Language - Know your Audience

There is a misconception about plain language. People think it's merely about replacing complicated words with simple ones. 

It also includes the careful study of your intended audience, and moulding the communication to ensure that it is understood.  

Here are some aspects to consider about your audience: 

  1. Age: The average age of your audience will influence how easily your message is read and understood.
  2. Education: The education of your audience will influence the use of jargon, industry specific terminology and the level of language in your communication. For example, the language used between doctors will be very different to the language used between a doctor and a patient.
  3. Literacy Level: The average literacy level of your target audience will affect their ability to understand your message.
  4. Language: The manner in which you mould your communication will be influenced by whether English is your audience’s first, second or even third language. 

By Michele van Eck, Writers Write Consultant 

She is an admitted attorney with more than five years working experience in the legal and corporate environment. She has a BComm in business management and law, as well as an LLB and an LLM. With specialized qualifications in corporate and contractual law, Michele writes for De Rebus and has co-authored articles for TSAR (a journal for South African law). 

If you want to improve your business writing skills, join us for The Plain Language Programme

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

How the law defines plain language

Parliament has begun incorporating plain language requirements into legislation. Although compliance is not the only benefit for using plain language it is still an important consideration when communicating. 

The National Credit ActCompanies Act and Consumer Protection Act have essentially the same requirements for plain language. They give some clarity on the expectations for the use of plain language in documents.

  • A document is considered to be in plain language if an ordinary person with an average level of literacy skills and minimal experience in the field can understand the document.
  • In essence you must consider your intended audience and communicate at your audience’s level of literacy and knowledge.
  • The law goes further to say that a person must be able to understand the content, significance and importance of the document and only then is a document considered to be in plain language.

Businesses cannot afford to ignore the requirements of plain language and should take these requirements into consideration when communicating.   

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Why you should choose to use Plain Language

Times have changed. There are ever increasing pressures on businesses to use plain language in communicating internally and externally. 

Simply put, plain language is the use of language that is clear, effective and written without fuss. It is understood by the audience the first time it is read or heard. It is the most effective manner to communicate to ensure the message is not misunderstood. 

For a business the use of plain language has the following benefits:

  1. The audience understands what is being communicated, which in turn reduces uncertainty and frustration.
  2. There are measurable savings on time and costs. It's been shown that the use of plain language reduces helpdesk calls, queries and the duplication of work. The saving on time has a tangible cost benefit for a business.
  3. Compliance with the law and avoiding unnecessary legal costs. The Consumer Protection Act, National Credit Act and the Companies Act (to name a few) have made the use of plain language compulsory for businesses. 

It’s time for businesses to re-look at how they communicate. They must take the use of plain language seriously. Plain language is here to stay. 

By Michele van Eck, Writers Write Consultant 

Michele has a BComm in business management and law, as well as an LLB and an LLM. With specialized qualifications in corporate and contractual law, Michele writes for De Rebus and has co-authored articles for TSAR (a journal for South African law). 

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.