Executive and Professional Development


Writing Skills for Plain Language

Using plain language means writing for your audience - so that you achieve your purpose. It's about using words and phrases and diagrams and images to make your content - and intent - easily understood by your readers.

It's also about organizing your content in a logical way so that ideas and activities flow smoothly from start to finish. Plain language is about ensuring, as much as possible, that people know what they have to do, or where they have to go, or why something is important. It's about removing confusion and avoiding misinterpretation.

While plain language isn't new, its use has become a primary focus for government, business and non-profits. Indeed, in the U.S., writing in plain language is the law. This course will provide you with an understanding of plain language and the techniques you can use to make your writing more accessible.

Writing Skills for Plain Language is a required seminar for the Series for Excellence in Written Communication.

DATES - 2 Day Seminar

January 10 - 11, 2018
May 22 - 23, 2018

$765 + HST
Facilitator: donalee Moulton
Location: Saint Mary’s at the World Trade Centre, 8th Floor, 1800 Argyle Street


Program Content 

  • Why use plain language?
  • Understanding what plain language comprises
  • How to write for your audience
  • Content, format, style and sentence structure
  • Active voice and verbs - not acronyms and jargon
  • Benefits of using plain language
  • How to transform difficult language into accessible information
  • How to create effective infographics
  • Readability Scores

 What You Will Learn

Upon completion of the seminar, you will know:

  • How and why written communication can break down
  • The importance of plain language
  • How to identify problematic words and phrases and test documents for plain language effectiveness
  • How to develop a process for plain language writing and editing on the job
  • How to recognize and use design elements that can contribute to plain language, including effective headings and subheadings, point form and lists
  • How to define the audience and purpose of a document
  • How to organize information clearly for readers
  • How to write clear, direct and concise sentences and paragraphs, eliminating unnecessary words and phrases
  • How to use active verbs and words with clear meaning

Who Should Attend?

You will benefit from this seminar if you:

  • Write documents such as emails, articles, reports, briefing notes, websites, and more
  • Write on any topic related to government, business, legal, health, science, education, social justice, accounting, rights, etc.
  • Manage staff who communicate in writing with key stakeholders