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
Anne-Marie Chisnall July 21st, 2022
Posted In: 2022 Plain Language Awards, Judges, Trophy Tips
Tags: 2022 Awards, impact, judging criteria, plain language standard, Trophy Tips, user-testing, Write Plain Language Standard
Champion organisations and individuals are leaders in clear communication | Photo by Occasionalclimber on excio.io
Lynda Harris, Awards founder and CE of our principal sponsor Write, is a champion of champion plain language organisations. Read on to find out why.
I’ve always been proud to reserve sponsorship of the award for Plain Language Champion — Best Organisation for Write Limited. You’d have to wrestle it from me! That’s because the Champion award embodies all the qualities of people and organisations that have worked hard to empower others through plain language.
‘Champion’ means being ‘the winner’ — the best, the highest achiever, the standard-setter, the model for others to follow. And we applaud that! But also it includes the concept of being an advocate — or a champion for a cause.
Plain language champions believe in the power of clarity and are proud to share their ideals with the world.
Leadership sets a champion organisation apart
An organisation that wins the Plain Language Champion — Best Organisation category will have many characteristics that set it apart from others. A champion organisation will be able to show evidence of deliberately choosing to use plain language throughout the whole organisation. To do this successfully, they will have to make their expectations clear from the top.
For example, the chief executive and senior leaders of a champion organisation will talk about the ‘why’ of plain language. They and their management teams will encourage and support others to adopt a clear style of communicating both internally and externally. They won’t hold back from promoting the connection between clarity and their organisation’s values.
They will understand and be able to articulate the value that clear communication has for their organisation, their brand, their customers, and ultimately society as a whole.
Champion organisations celebrate the benefits of clear communication — things like greater job satisfaction and improved workplace culture, along with better customer retention, greater trust, and a reputation for doing good work.
Be inspired by the 2021 Best Organisation
The judges look for evidence in a winning champion portfolio
Evidence to back up your claims is essential to a winning portfolio! The judges look for evidence of a wholehearted commitment to making plain language the expected standard across the whole organisation. As a bonus, evidence of impact in the community will be compelling too.
In a plain language organisation, you’ll be able to see evidence that the CEO and senior team have stated their strong expectation for a culture of plain language. That means things like:
- everyone considers their reader in every piece of communication, both internal and external
- everyone knows what good looks like and writes to an agreed plain language standard
- senior people and other advocates model plain language practice
- helpful resources including plain language champions are readily available to help writers.
In other words, plain language is woven into the fabric of the organisation so that:
- documents are consistently clear and reader-friendly
- feedback and measurable results demonstrate the effect of plain language.
Individuals and teams are honoured too
The Awards also celebrate individuals and teams that have achieved great things with a plain language project. The Plain Language Champion — Best Individual or Team award honours the people who work hard to make plain language a reality in their organisation.
The award is open to individuals or teams who have significantly contributed to a plain language initiative in any New Zealand or Australian organisation. For example, you might have:
- convinced senior management or others of influence to support a plain language initiative
- led a plain language project — large or small
- run training or team meetings on plain language topics
- helped other writers to produce clear, reader-friendly content
- written newsletter articles or intranet resources about plain language topics
- rewritten template letters into plain language.
Feel free to nominate yourself, your team, or someone else you work with.
Meet the 2021 Best Individual or Team
Write’s sponsorship celebrates plain language organisations
Lynda explains what’s behind Write sponsoring the Champion category.
You can see that everything about this category is dear to Write’s heart. Our purpose is to use words for the power of good by helping organisations and individuals get more value and impact from business communication. Ultimately we help build a fairer, more respectful society.
We see the Plain Language Awards as another way we can showcase the benefits of clear communication. Sponsoring the Champion category is one way we can celebrate other organisations doing their bit towards a society where people are able to participate more easily.
Read about Write and its B Corp status
Get your entry portfolio ready!
Entries must be in by 31 July and the Champion categories need a portfolio of evidence — so don’t delay!
Read the entry criteria and prizes for the Champion categories
See other clues that your organisation is a champion of clear communication
Anne-Marie Chisnall July 5th, 2022
Posted In: 2022 Plain Language Awards, Plain Language Champion
Tags: Best Individual or Team, Best Organisation, Champion, clear communication, impact, Lynda Harris, sponsors