Top 10 Plain Language Resolutions for 2016

Posted on Dec 30, 2015 in Holiday

Lose weight/go to gym Trim the fat from your chubby sentences. Break a sweat while whittling them down to size. And don’t be so quick to grab a thesaurus. Those “fancy” or less common words can be like a hunk of cheesecake that will bloat your writing.
Quit smoking/drinking Smoking and drinking (too much) are bad. What could possibly compare in plain language? Hanging onto the stuff you learned in high school English. Instead, use short sentences and short words to deliver clear information that counts.
Get organized Plan before you write. This keeps you focused and makes “keep or kill” copy decisions much easier.
Get more sleep Allow yourself time to brainstorm. Find the perfect example to explain a difficult concept. Or think about a new way to present the information. Not everything has to be words. Think in pictures.
Spend less, save more Write less, get read more. The stats are clear. People are busy. We all want info as quickly and as clear as possible.
Learn something new/exciting Take a class or read tips to make your writing better, clearer and more effective.
Accomplish your goals Start a plain language project where you work. Break the big goal down into manageable steps.
Volunteer Help others master clear communicators. Don’t just give a fish (a free rewrite). Teach them how to fish so they can join our distinguished ranks. (Or volunteer with us! We’d love your help.)
Travel Submit your entries to the ClearMark Awards and travel to DC in May 2016 to pick up your prize!
Floss Flossing is just too good to replace. Besides, you can’t sell the merits of clear communication with bits of nastiness between your teeth. So smile and spread the word!

 

Brian BAbout the author: Brian Berkenstock is a Center for Plain Language Board Member, and a content strategist at Aetna.

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