Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators


We’ve got lots to celebrate this year! | Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Join us to celebrate our finalists and winners at our virtual Awards ceremony on Thursday, 14 October.

Our people are at the heart of what we do

Every year we have more people involved in the Awards than you’d expect. Many of these people are behind the scenes and plenty of them not in the limelight.

We love getting lots of our people together at the end of the Awards season to celebrate our finalists and winners, and promote the benefits of clear communication. Our Awards ceremony usually happens in person, but this year we need to think differently.

We’ll celebrate online for 2021

We knew from the outset that we’d need to think laterally when planning for our 2021 ceremony. So, in place of our in-person event, we’re going to run our Awards ceremony online.

We’ll miss being able to applaud our winners in person. At the same time, we’re excited about the many opportunities running an online ceremony gives us. We definitely won’t have a seat limit in 2021! And we’re going to run the ceremony at a time that works better for some our overseas judges and entrants. A flow-on benefit will be that you’ll be able to join during the day if you’re in New Zealand.

Our Awards ceremony is right in the middle of International Plain Language Week too. So you’ve got a readymade way to get involved in an international event that celebrates clarity.

So come along, grab your friends and supporters, and join us at our online Awards ceremony. We’ll have more details for you soon. For now, make sure you pencil in 11am until 1pm on Thursday, 14 October to celebrate with us!

Oh, and did we say that registrations will be free of charge this year? See you in October!

Who’s in the running for an award in 2021?

Huge thanks to our sponsors, who make the Plain English Awards possible

Posted In: 2021 Plain English Awards, Awards ceremony, Communications, Finalists, Judges, People's Choice awards, Plain English Awards, Winners

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The next step in the Awards process is for our judges to do their jobs as they work towards deciding on this year’s finalists and winners | Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

Entries for the 2021 Plain English Awards have now closed. But that doesn’t mean things have come to a standstill! Quite the opposite, in fact.

Our judges now get to work

We use an online platform called Submittable to accept entries. Submittable is also the place where our judges review each of these entries. Judging is broken down into several different phases as the judges work their way towards agreeing on a shortlist, finalists, and eventually a category winner.

Read about our fabulous judges

Read about the judging process

When you’ll next hear about entries

Good judging takes time. And given that our panels are made up of experts around the world as well as around New Zealand, our judges have the added ‘hurdle’ of communicating across different time zones.

Once our judges do come to agreement, we’ll publicise their shortlist decisions. Judges will then continue their deliberations and we’ll announce this year’s finalists on Thursday, 16 September. And the big announcement — this year’s Plain English Awards winners — will be made on Thursday, 14 October by our media partner, Newsroom.

To add to these broadcasts, our Awards ambassador, Shelly Davies, will talk about our winning entries on nationwide television in the days after the big announcement.

Thanks for your interest in the 2021 Plain English Awards. You’ll be hearing from us again soon. In the meantime, check out the videos in our gallery and share your plain language story!

How you can keep up-to-date

As always, we’ll continue to publish Awards updates in our website blog. You’ll also be able to keep up-to-date through our social media platforms and our newsletter.

Email to subscribe to our newsletter.

Follow us on LinkedIn

Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Posted In: 2021 Plain English Awards, Communications, Finalists, Judges, Plain English Awards, Shortlists, Winners

Tags: , , , , ,

Do you know someone whose writing makes you prickly? Nominate them for the 2019 Brainstrain award.

If you’ve been marking off the days on your calendar, you’ll know the time has come. Nominations for the 2019 People’s Choice Awards opened last Saturday.

Success worth being proud of

What we love about the People’s Choice Awards, and what many of you have told us you love too, is how our winners react to their success. Winners of our People’s Choice Best category are invariably enormously proud — and rightly so! Who wouldn’t be? Your work will have been singled out by a member of the public, judged against other outstanding entries, and deemed by the international judging panel to be the best!

Recognition to take in good humour

What about the winner of our award for the worst communication? Our Worst Brainstrain category recognises a document or website that a member of the public has found confusing, frustrating, obscure, or downright horrible. With all the potential fallout from winning this unenviable title, we love that our winners invariably accept their ‘success’ in good humour. And they see it as an opportunity to start over again, so that their communication serves its audience better.

Check out the acceptance speeches by some past winners of the People’s Choice Worst Brainstrain award:

Posted In: 2019 People's Choice Awards, Brainstrain, Winners

Tags: , , ,

'We worked for 3 years to get this!' Winner of the Best Plain English Document — Private sector Jacqueline Taylor celebrates her success. Photo by Rebecca McMillan Photography.

What an amazing ceremony last night! Congratulations to all our 2018 winners — you deserved all the recognition you got. The feedback you each received from your judges truly shows that plain English is alive and kicking in New Zealand. It also shows that, as a Trust, we’re making great strides towards fulfilling our goals.

‘Keep going and spread the word!’

A special mention to the winners of our Plain English Champion — Best Individual or Team category. The work that’s gone into the Better Letters Project at the Ministry of Social Development is seriously changing the lives of everyday New Zealanders.

Our judges got it right when they said, ‘Keep going and spread the word! Imagine what New Zealand’s public service might look like if every government department took this approach!’

Find out about this year’s winners

Take a look at photographer Rebecca McMillan’s wonderful photos of the ceremony


Posted In: 2018 awards ceremony, 2018 winners, Finalists, Social good, Winners

Tags: , , , ,

It's time to celebrate this year's winners! Image by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

Tickets are available now for this year’s Plain English Awards ceremony

Where? City Gallery Wellington

When? Thursday, 15 November

Come along and celebrate at this year’s ceremony. Join finalists, judges, sponsors, and other supporters for an evening of fun, festivity, and above all celebration.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester will give an opening address at 5.30pm. And lawyer and comedian James Elliott will be our MC for the evening. Financial advisor, wealth coach, and author Martin Hawes will also return as a guest speaker.

You’ll have a chance to mix and mingle, with drinks and canapés, following the official segment of the ceremony.

Get your tickets now!

Posted In: 2018 awards ceremony, 2018 Plain English Awards, Finalists, Winners

Tags: , , , ,

You now have 3 whole days more to submit your entries!

Entries for the 2018 Plain English Awards now close at midnight next Monday, 3 September. That means you’ve got 3 extra days to create your winning entry!

Read about our categories

See who won at last year’s Awards

Posted In: 2018 Plain English Awards, Industry awards, People's Choice awards, Winners

Tags: , , ,

Trophies are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of entering industry awards. Photo by Photo by Jennifer Latuperisa-Andresen on Unsplash

What’s the first image that comes to mind when you think about industry awards? For many people the answer might be trophies and photos in the newspaper, but those overt benefits are often just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

The benefits of entering an industry award, and perhaps winning, go much deeper than you might first think. Public recognition is one of the most rewarding benefits, of course. But that benefit is often one of many.

Setting standards and demonstrating value

We’ve been running the Plain English Awards for 13 years. Over this time we’ve seen a steady increase in the quality of the entries. We’ve also seen a steady increase in interest in the Awards. And we’ve witnessed and recorded the benefits that organisations and individuals, as well as sponsors, reap from association with the Awards.

What are these benefits?

  • Optimal benchmarking: the recipient of an award is seen as setting a standard
  • Building credibility and strength: awards validate an organisation’s position with prospective customers and clients
  • Demonstrating value: winning an award provides clear evidence of the value an organisation brings to its clients
  • Communicating that you’re professional: winning an award shows that you’re a reputable professional whose achievements stand out

A long-term commitment to quality

What about those individuals and organisations that win more than once? This kind of achievement reinforces all the points above, and shows that you’ve committed to quality for the long term. What more could a client or customer wish for?

Read about how one organisation won our Best Organisation award in 2007 — and won again 8 years later in 2015.

Posted In: 2018 Plain English Awards, Industry awards, Winners

Tags: , ,