Plain language writer training

Plain language (plain English) training that transforms writing skills

bureaucratic, wordy, vague writing

clear, concise, effective writing

Examples: Your readers prefer plain language.

Difficult reading

The City of Sydney is expanding the network of community gardens which allow local residents to meet and become involved in producing organic food, herbs or native plants.
Community gardens are non-profit, community-based enterprises producing food primarily for member gardeners. They are community managed, multifunctional garden spaces that can provide a wide range of environmental, social and economic benefits.
Community verge gardens may be established on the footpath verge. These are considered a type of community garden in the Community Gardens Policy (2010) when they are managed collectively by a group of local residents and decisions are jointly made.
Residents wanting to set up community gardens are referred to the City’s Community Gardens Policy and information provided on our website.
Words: 121 rating: E
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 14.9

Easy reading

Community gardens allow residents to produce food, herbs and native plants. They may be set up next to footpaths or in other spaces.
If you would like to set up a garden, please read the Community Gardens Policy. There is other information on our website.
A group of residents manages each community garden. They make decisions together. The gardens are non-profit and produce food mainly for member gardeners. There are many environmental, social and economic benefits of community gardens.  

Words: 80 rating: B
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 8.7

The current approach to production and non-production environments based on legacy and physical infrastructure has been associated with a number of issues that warrant improvements to drive efficiencies and ensure a foundation for improved working practices including the potential for higher rates of cadence and overall capacity for change.
Words: 50 rating: E
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 26.8

Improving our business is being held back by our technology and the way we manage it. Our technology is robust and sound and serves our customers well. But responding to needs and  opportunities is costly, slow and cumbersome. Even small changes require large effort, and may take months to implement.

Words: 50 rating: A
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 7.9

Think-write Consulting delivers plain language (sometimes called plain English) training to government and business teams.

Writing clearly, succinctly and persuasively is an important part of the work of nearly every public servant, manager or supervisor. The written word is the main way ideas are passed around and through your organisation. That’s why they need to be written in plain language (plain English).

One day course:

Writing well at work:
Covers the principles and practice of plain language. Lifts writing skills so participants can write text that is easy to read, gets to the point fast and achieves purpose. We train hundreds of public servants each year so they can craft documents that are effective and efficient.

Full day course cost: $2800 + gst
at your premises in metropolitan Sydney. That’s for up to 20 participants (just $140 each) and includes a brief reference/work book.
We travel to regional centres and interstate too, at additional cost.

Half day courses:

Plain language fundamentals: Condenses the full day Writing well at work course.

Writing reports

Proposals and other influential writing

Policies, procedures and work instructions

Writing meeting minutes

Half day course cost: $1900 + gst
at your premises in metropolitan Sydney, up to 20 participants.
We travel to regional centres and interstate too, at additional cost.

One-on-one writer coaching is also available.

Call Greg on 0418 411 046 to book a course. Or email
(Online training for individuals is also available.)

Business writing is a skill that can be learnt

Think-write’s training course Writing well at work can help your people write business documents in plain language (plain English). Documents that are easy to read, get to the point fast and achieve purpose.

Writing well at work is designed to lift the writing skills of your people. Too often bright, capable, enthusiastic workers are let down by poor writing skills. Very few receive guidance about writing well during formal education – Writing well at work fills that gap.

Plain English training that delivers measurable improvement
Measurable improvement in writing skills

The best course on writing I have ever done. Easy to follow and just plain common sense.

The point that no matter how long and hard you work on a report, if no one reads it then it is a waste of time. Really got through to me.

See other participant comments.

The need for writer training

You and your staff likely have considerable content expertise and are knowledgeable about the topics you write about. However, few authors have formal training in writing and communication. They rely on limited guidance provided during school and university, and whatever they have been able to pick up on the job or from other sources.

Our training helps participants to develop skills that will help them write a range of documents that are more effective and more efficient.

  • More effective – documents more easily read, understood and more likely acted on by the audience.
  • More efficient – documents written and read in less time. Less back and forth between authors and reviewers.

Thinking well and writing well are closely connected. The ability to organise ideas effectively and communicate them clearly, concisely and persuasively has significant career benefits for individuals. It also enhances the effectiveness and reputation of your organisation.

Participants will:

  • Realise the strength of a user centred mindset.
  • Recognise the relationship between writing well and thinking well.
  • Appreciate the importance of defining purpose, audience and message before writing.
  • Know how to generate and structure content.
  • Grasp the power of ‘point first’ structure.
  • Be able to use five simple plain language techniques to craft messages.
  • Understand how to refine, review and test documents.

Content overview

Plain language fundamentals.
  • Effective & efficient documents.
  • Writing and thinking are closely related.
  • Make it easy for your readers.
  • Maximum meaning, minimum reading.
  • The writer is responsible for communication.
  • Describing document purpose (why)
  • Understanding the audience (who)
  • Defining the key message (what)
Developing and structuring content
  • Using mind maps to discover the content ‘landscape’.
  • Structuring content
    • For the user
    • Chunking
    • Layering
    • Point first
  • The power of talking headings
Plain language (plain English) writing techniques

Discussion and exercises around five plain writing techniques:

  1. Simple words
  2. Active voice
  3. Verbs not nouns
  4. Short, point-first, sentences
  5. Conversational style
Refining your work
  • Before it leaves your desk – style, grammar, layout, graphics
  • The review process
  • Document testing

Training approach

Plain language (plain English) training is delivered from the perspective of a practitioner sharing insights and has a definite ‘hands-on’ rather than theoretical approach.

Writing well is a complex capability. The course conveys basic knowledge of the writing process and the techniques involved in producing effective text. It focuses on helping participants develop text that is concise and clear, and includes opportunity to practise the craft of writing.

The course focuses on ‘functional’ documents. That is, purposeful documents that are intended to impact readers; to influence thinking, attitudes and behaviour. Writers are taught to generate text that is persuasive without being manipulative; material that is engaging to read and that makes good sense to the audience.