Monday, November 24, 2014

Who will win the race for clarity?

Who’s the clearest of them all? Which organisation best understands the need for clarity in communication?

It's the ninth year in the life of the Plain English Awards. This year again saw a great bunch of entries with 122 across 12 categories. The list of finalists  is out and the wait is nearly over — we’ll know the winners on 27 November.

Showing their dedication to clarity

The finalist organisations are united by their dedication to clarity in communication. They understand that communicating clearly and simply contributes to their success, and they walk the talk. Clear communication shows they respect and understand their audiences and readers, and it builds goodwill. These organisations also know that clear communication can increase their bottom line.

‘The Awards encourage organisations to show they care about communicating honestly and clearly,’ says Gregory Fortuin, Chair of the WriteMark Plain English Awards Trust. 

‘Making the effort to communicate in plain English can make a difference to the lives of many people.’

Categories in the Awards honour documents and websites — and the people who write them. And members of the public have joined in the push for plain English by nominating good and bad documents in the People’s Choice category.

Making a difference to the bottom line

Clear communication is an important contributor to an organisation’s success. For example, last year’s grand prize winner, the Ministry of Social Development, reduced the number of phonecalls from welfare clients needing to clarify a point from an average 25% to just 2.5%. Fewer phonecalls means money saved, and less pressure on the call centre.

The spokesman for the Environmental Protection Authority said he’d been complimented for their winning entry: ‘…getting fan mail for a government publication is something of a rarity.’

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