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Make your plain language program work

Cheryl Stephens

Building and keeping plain language support

The importance of integration

Plain language can be a moderate change in direction or a massive switch in your methods. Either way, you will be asking colleagues to do what they do differently. The best approach to get support is to integrate it into existing methods and promote its benefits. The following ideas can help you get started.

Ways to integrate plain language

Pull together a think-tank of in-house leaders, such as your communication, human resources, technology, marketing and organizational development managers. Provide an orientation to plain language and your goals. You might wish to have an external trainer do this. Then, brainstorm ways to make it work, include existing and new opportunities. Select the best ideas that offer easy plain language integration.

Make it memorable

Get plain language on the management meeting agendas. Provide an update on progress and projects: this keeps leaders talking about it and you motivated. If your communication team has a style guide, that’s an excellent place to provide everyone with a resource. If not, set up a plain language guide. If you do in-house training, put a plain language course on your program. This will increase the number of staff with knowledge and skills, and open up the pool of talent for project teams. Get everyone doing and talking about it.

Spread the word

Be a champion. Put it into practice in your own area. Look for opportunities to support, drive and expand plain language initiatives. Share ideas, developments and innovations whenever and wherever you can. Always celebrate successes. Integrating and promoting plain language lead to the path of least resistance and greatest support.