Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators


A winning entry is in the bag if you meet the plain language criteria | Photo by Phu Dinh on Unsplash

Here’s some inside information for people thinking of entering the 2022 Plain Language Awards!

However, it’s no secret! The thing the judges are looking for and what excites them the most is to see a document or website that meets the plain language criteria to a very high standard.

How the judging process works

When they review the entries, the judges use Submittable — the same platform entrants use to submit their entries. Submittable enables the judges to record their feedback and rate the entries.

Read more about the judging process

Meet the judges for the 2022 Awards

Here are the broad ratings they use, starting from the highest rating and moving to the lowest.

Excellent — Thought-provoking and inspiring

Plain language principles are applied consistently and well. We discovered new ideas and strategies from this entry that we want to use in our own work. We want to tell other people about this entry and think readers and users will tell other people too. We can see the positive impact of this entry for the organisation or its customers.

Very good — Solid use of principles

Applies principles consistently and effectively. Changes we might make would fall into the polishing or
nit-picking category. They are unlikely to change the impact of the entry overall. This is a very strong example, but it didn’t inspire us to say ‘Wow! Look at this one!’

Good — Uses some plain language principles but misses subtleties

Mainly uses plain language principles but misses subtleties and opportunities. The entry may get the point across, but more focus on plain language principles could measurably improve it .

Fair — Inconsistent use of plain language principles

Uses some plain language principles, but misses other critical ones. May misapply or over-apply strategies. The authors would benefit from training and mentoring.

Poor — Poor or no use of principles

The poor use of plain language principles in this entry interferes with readers’ ability to understand and act on the information. If testing was done, it seems to have had little or no impact on the final version.

Read about the plain language criteria

Read about the user-testing criteria

Get your copy of the Write Plain Language Standard

More Trophy Tips

You’ll get lots of tips for bringing home a trophy if you read the judges comments and the media releases of previous winners and finalists.

Meet the 2021 winners and finalists

And read one of our earlier blog posts with some useful summaries here:

Trophy Tips: In the words of our judges





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We’re excited to announce the Plain Language Awards are running again in 2022 | Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

We’ve been a bit quiet lately, but the rumours are true! Once again we’ll be celebrating Australia and New Zealand’s clearest business communicators at the 2022 Plain Language Awards. So it’s time to start thinking about your entries.

Check out last year’s finalists and winners for inspiration

Get your entries ready to send in between 1 May and 31 July. The categories will be the same as last year’s.

Read about how to enter the 2022 Awards

Check the Awards categories for 2022

This year’s Awards theme is telling your plain language story. Inspire others and be inspired!

View plain language stories in our gallery

An exciting year for plain language with the Plain Language Bill

And while you’ve got your plain language thinking hats on, why not send in a submission supporting the Plain Language Bill? The Plain Language Bill is a private member’s Bill being considered by the New Zealand Parliament. If it becomes law, it will require all government agencies to communicate in plain language.

Discover more about the Plain Language Bill

If you believe government communication in plain language would be good for Aotearoa, we encourage you to have your say by submitting on the Bill. Submissions close on 31 March 2022.

Make a submission on the Parliament website

Or use the handy template created by Write Limited to prompt your thinking.

Visit the Write website and use the ready-made submission template


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