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Plain language training - Writing well at work

The course conveys basic knowledge of the writing process and the techniques involved in producing effective text. It will help you develop text that is concise and clear so you can craft documents that are effective and efficient. It focuses on the documents people need to read and write at work - functional documents.
The online course includes all material from our full day face-to-face training course, and all the material from the single unit courses listed below.
The cost of the course is fully refundable if you become a PlainLanguagePro certifier. More detail

Writing as thinking and communication

Writing and thinking are closely related. You cannot write well until you can think well.

Make it easy for your readers

Making text as easy as possible for readers is the prime job of writers. If text is difficult to read, there is a high likelihood readers will choose not to read it.

Defining purpose, understanding audience

An effective document meets the needs of readers and at the same time meets the objectives of the author.

Generating content

One thing that separates good writers from others is how they select the content to include, and what they choose to leave out.

Organising content

Point first, layering and chunking - all useful ideas to keep in mind when choosing the structure of your document.

The power of talking headings

Talking headings provide both information and navigation. They help readers scan effectively.

Plain language

Writing in plain language is not 'dumbing down'. It is expressing ideas in language that most can understand. And it promotes equity.

Simple words

Plain language technique 1 - use the simplest word you can to express an idea. Reserve complex and less familiar words for when they are essential for clarity.

Active voice

Plain language technique 2 - prefer the active voice over the passive. But the passive is not wrong.

Use verbs

Plain language technique 3 - prefer verbs over nouns. Verbs give your writing more energy and help keep it tight.

Short sentences

Plain language technique 4 - short sentences are easier to understand than longer ones. Reduce the cognitive load on readers with shorter sentences.

Conversational style

Plain language technique 5 - you are always writring to people. Aim to have an appropriate conversation with your readers.


Incorrect grammar causes readers to stumble. This short course doesn't cover everything you need to know, but highlights some common issues.

Writing persuasively

Aristotle gave us some principles of persuasion many years ago. They are still helpful today, and being aware of them can help your writing be mnore influential.

Including graphics

Good graphics support the words and provide content from a different perspective. They help visually oriented people engage with ideas.

Reviewing documents

Nearly all documents in a corporate setting are reviewed before release. The review process is great when it's working well, but can be very destructive when it's not.

User testing

Business | government documents are information products. All products should be tested before release. Not testing documents may be reckless.