Our colleague, Cynthia Baur, plain language lead at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just posted some new tools you might find useful. They can help large, complex organizations like government agencies make plain language everyday practice.
We all know how easy it is for broadcast emails, memos and other notices to get lost in the workday flow of information. To get employees’ attention, the CDC Office of Communication created a checklist and three messages to remind staff of key plain language techniques.
The plain language checklist is based on the training slides from PLAIN, the network of federal plain language trainers. The three messages focus on specific issues in our public communication. CDC encourages employees to eliminate jargon and unnecessary details and highlight main messages. These materials are free and available for anyone to use.
- Plain Language Checklist – Communication your audience understands the first time [CDC, PDF – 174 KB]
- Cut It Out – Delete unnecessary words, sentences, and paragraphs [CDC.gov, PDF – 134 KB]
- Mind your Jargon – Choose words and numbers [CDC.gov, PDF – 134 KB]
- What’s your Point? Put the most important message first. [CDC.gov, PDF – 146 KB]
Organizational practices won’t change until the people inside the organizations change. Communicating expectations and specific action steps should be part of every organization’s plain language strategy.
Go to: http://blogs.cdc.gov/healthliteracy/ to send CDC your comments on their materials. They want to hear from you.