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Plain Language

The use of plain language is spreading. Governments at all levels, especially the federal government, are using plain language more extensively.

Members: 80
Latest Activity: Jul 16

WaPost article on recruiting and plain language

From today's Federal Coach article:

Let’s start with the recruiting pitch. You should have a clear message about your organization and mission, as well as a straightforward description of the job to be filled....


Putting all this into action will require that every agency and every office develop its elevator speech – that 30-second, plain-English pitch that explains your role and mission. You also need what I call a “Metro ad”: a short, catchy written pitch that’s capable of drawing someone’s interest even if they’re standing on a hot, crowded Metro full of tourists.

This means agencies must stop posting vacancies on that contain mind-numbing job descriptions and instead read more like incredible opportunities.

Read the full article

Discussion Forum

Plain Language Job at MN Department of Revenue

Started by Janelle Tummel Jul 16. 0 Replies

We're hiring an Editorial Coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Revenue to help with our plain language work. Here's the link:…Continue

Tags: editor, writer, language, plain

Nominate a plain language document for a ClearMark Award!

Started by Rebecca Schwartz Gholson Jan 3, 2013. 0 Replies

From the website of The Center for Plain LanguageThe Center for Plain Language will honor the…Continue

Tags: Writing, Act, of, 2010, Plain

Readability based on Reading Level Algorithms

Started by Elizabeth Dunn. Last reply by Nick Wright Nov 1, 2012. 3 Replies

Hi All, I'm very excited to have stumbled across this group.  I received an email about a post from a member of Government 2.0 Club which led me to Web Manager University then onto…Continue

Free Expert Webinar on "Five Steps to ‘Customerizing’ Your Agency’s Website"

Started by Jen Towbin Oct 26, 2012. 0 Replies

Join ENC Strategy and Project Performance Corporation on November 7, 2012 for a free expert seminar on realigning…Continue

Tags: government, free, seminar, service, website

Comment Wall


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Comment by Katherine Spivey on July 2, 2013 at 1:20pm

Monthly PLAIN Meeting - July 10, 2013
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Time: 2 to 3 p.m.

Are you having trouble starting your plain language program?

If yes, then join us at the July 10 PLAIN meeting for a discussion of successful strategies to promote and document using plain language.

Karen Gray, Alutiiq Business Services, LLC, a contractor at USCIS and member of the USCIS Plain Language Committee will present.

You’ll learn how to determine the effective use of plain writing and identify improvements in comprehension, customer service, and usability.

You’ll leave the meeting confident of your agency’s ability to achieve the goal of clear communication and show ongoing compliance with the Act.

RSVP for the 7/10 meeting

Comment by Katherine Spivey on June 12, 2013 at 11:16am

Plain Language gathering today at Teaism - Penn Quarter ( today wednesday, 6/12, from 5-7 p.m. 

Comment by Katherine Spivey on June 12, 2013 at 11:08am

Plain Language meeting today -

Time: 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Call-in phone number: 866-862-1246
Passcode: 48013487

How do we quantify the value of using plain language? How can agencies and government contractors subject to compliance regulations calculate the impact of plain language on their bottom lines?    

Dees Stallings will cover some university, corporate, and government scenarios that exemplify how important it is to showcase how plain language can measurably increase productivity and reduce risk. Based this discussion, you’ll have the opportunity to apply some techniques to test whether plain language strategies can pass a “so what?” test.   
Comment by Katherine Spivey on April 10, 2013 at 10:35am

Plain Language meeting today:

Monthly PLAIN Meeting - April 10, 2013

The Federal Register Office

Time: 2 to 3 p.m.

Join us at the April PLAIN meeting as Rick Lynch from Small Business Administration presents a brainstorming session on plain-language metrics.

Are you having a hard time developing metrics and measurements for your plain language program? Well, Rick sure is. He’s coming to you with his few meager ideas and a plea for your assistance. So, put on the thinking caps and maybe we’ll come up with something that we can all use.


Location: The Federal Register Office is located three blocks north of the Union Station Metro at: 800 North Capitol Street, NW Suite 700, Washington DC 20001. 

Go through security in the lobby; you must have a government-issued photo id. The Federal Register is located on the 7th floor.  Follow the sign saying public inspection to enter the lobby.

RSVP for this meeting

Call-in phone number: 866-862-1246
Passcode: 48013487

Comment by Katherine Spivey on January 15, 2013 at 12:42pm

Want to become a trainer? Take the Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) bootcamp class on January 31, 2013, from 1-4 p.m. It's at 1 Constitution Square (1275 First Ave NE) near Noma/Gallaudet metro station.

Register here:


More about plain language at

Comment by Steve Cottle on November 7, 2012 at 11:17am

Candi - a website judge for plain language - discusses some of the factors that go into decisions about what represents effective plain language (hint: it's not just word choice!):

Comment by Steve Cottle on October 26, 2012 at 10:20am

Has anyone seen the National Weather Service's "Frankenstorm" warnings? What do you think about this use of plain language?

Comment by Rebecca Schwartz Gholson on July 20, 2012 at 10:29am

Here's the link to the Center for Plain Language report card showing us how agencies are doing in their effort to defeat gobbledy-gook. Lots of press today -- will it make agencies work harder at complying with the Plain Writing Act? 

Comment by Andrew Krzmarzick on June 4, 2012 at 9:44am

3 *great* lessons on Plain Language from Candi Harrison based on her experience as a judge for the Clearmark Plain Language Awards:

Comment by Katherine Spivey on February 6, 2012 at 10:20am

Want to come to the Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN)  monthly meeting, held February at Noma? Wednesday, February 8, 2-3:30?

We're discussing the first compliance plans that we need, according to the Plain Writing Act of 2010.

 Register now:  


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