Ready Set Go! | Image by Hellie Hadfield
Newsflash: You can now collaborate on entries! Just hit the ‘manage collaborators’ link at the top of the entry form, and invite colleagues to work with you.
That’s right, we’ve gone live!
Entries are now open for the 2023 Plain Language Awards.
Our virtual postboxes at Awards HQ are waiting to be filled to the brim with your concise reports, clear technical documents, accessible websites, and simple sentences. As always, you can choose from 13 categories, so hop to it!
Short on time? Here are some easy ones…
Have you already transformed something old and gnarly into something clear and shiny? Whether a whole document or website, or merely a troublesome sentence, we’ve got you covered. Check out the Best Plain Language Turnaround and Best Plain Language Sentence Transformation categories.
Documents, plain and simple
The Best Plain Language Document category celebrates beautiful business documents that are clear on purpose and content. Enter yours in the category for public sector or private sector.
Maybe you and your team have been grappling with an annual report, making your end-of-year business story easy for all to absorb. If so, be sure to check out the Best Plain Language Annual Report category.
Or maybe you’ve created a masterful document that banishes legal jargon and uses plain language? If your document covers legal, financial, or compliance topics, check out Best Plain Language Legal Document.
For the technical whizzes and content enthusiasts, why not enter your super easy-to-use website in the Best Plain Language Website category?
Masters of simplification
Are you, or someone in your company, the go-to for simplifying technical topics and communicating with clarity? Then enter a portfolio in the Best Plain Language Technical Communicator.
Maybe an individual or a team in your organisation really stands out as having championed plain language changes? Maybe they’ve run workshops, created some resources, or led organisation-wide initiatives? Sounds like they should be put forward for the Plain Language Champion — Best Individual or Team.
Or, has your organisation taken things a step further, and successfully transformed the writing culture of the workplace? If so, prepare your entry portfolio for the Plain Language Champion — Best Organisation category.
Or nominate someone else
Seen someone else do an awesome job? Maybe your insurance company has a super clear website, or a friendly government agency communicated in a top-notch manner. If so, why not nominate them for People’s Choice — Best Plain Language Communication. They deserve to be celebrated!
If, on the other hand, you have come across some truly diabolical discourse, a real humdinging head-scratcher, why not enter it in People’s Choice — Worst Brainstrain Communication. That way, you’ll help to bring about a positive change.
So what are you waiting for?
The Awards categories have something for everyone and every type of business writing. So what are you waiting for? Get entering!
Enter the 2023 Plain Language Awards
Posted In: 2023 Plain Language Awards, Communications
clear communication, plain language, Plain Language Awards
Good, better, best: it's over to the judges to decide | Photo by Canstock
Thanks to all who entered this year’s Awards! After a flurry of last-minute entries, we have handed everything over to our intrepid judging team. All 36 of them!
This year a third of the judges are from New Zealand and the rest are from the US, UK, Australia, and Europe. All are accomplished plain language experts and strong advocates for Ernest Gowers’ advice: ‘Be short, be simple, be human’.
How do our expert independent judges pick their winners? It’s a big job so we thought you’d like to know a bit more about it.
First up, shortlisting
First, our judges read over each entry, carefully checking against the plain language criteria. Then they vote on their shortlist. This all happens independently in the Submittable system, which allows ‘thumbs-up, thumbs-down’ voting.
Next, judges do a detailed review of all entries, writing comments for each of the assessment criteria. Each panel works hard to make sure feedback is balanced, fair, and helpful. The goal at this stage is to recognise and affirm great writing and to help entrants do even better by making suggestions and giving examples for improvement.
We know that entrants really value the expert feedback. For some, it’s the best aspect of entering! Submittable calculates scores for each of the criteria and averages them across the judging panel to help the panel agree on a few contenders for the category awards.
Last, picking the finalists and winners
Now the judges deliberate as a team to pick their finalists and winners — quite a logistics exercise with judges living all over the globe! The deliberation stage can involve lots of lively debate, especially when many entries are of a very high standard!
When judges need to choose between two excellent entries, it usually comes down to impact. Entries where the work has made the greatest positive impact will usually triumph.
When all is agreed, lead judges review the written comments for all shortlisted entries to make extra sure that the comments are clear and helpful.
So if you entered this year, good luck! Regardless of the outcome, you’ve done a good thing and your users are thanking you! (A trophy is good too of course!)
How the judging process works
Judges for the 2022 Plain Language Awards
Posted In: 2022 Plain Language Awards, Judges, Shortlists
clear communication, judges, plain language, Plain Language Awards
You’ve now got till 5pm on Tuesday, 2 August to enter the Plain Language Awards | Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash
We know what it’s like to be busy, and how difficult it can be to meet deadlines when the pressure’s on. That’s why we’re extending the closing date for entries so you have little extra time to enter the Plain Language Awards.
Entries for the 2022 Plain Language Awards will now close at 5pm on Tuesday, 2 August.
Get the recognition you deserve for your clear communications
The Plain Language Awards are one of New Zealand’s leading industry awards. Imagine how good you and your team would feel if you became a finalist … or even a winner?!
Find out more about our Awards categories
Get some inspiration from our past winners
Nominate the good and the bad for the People’s Choice
Make a difference! Dob in a bad document, or praise an easy-to-read one! The more the public speak up and demand plain language, the easier it is for us all.
Power to the people — vote for plain!
Have you read something that strained your brain? Nominate it!
Get involved with the People’s Choice
It only takes a sentence!
If you’re short on time, enter a few beautifully transformed sentences for the Best Plain Language Sentence Transformation award.
Well-written sentences create a fine reading experience
Enter your transformed sentences by 2 August
Posted In: 2022 Plain Language Awards, Communications, People's Choice awards
Best Plain Language Annual Report, Best Plain Language Document, Best Plain Language Legal Document, Best Plain Language Sentence Transformation, Best Plain Language Technical Communicator, Best Plain Language Turnaround, Best Plain Language Website, Brainstrain, People's Choice, Plain Language Awards
The amusingly named Brainstrain Award has a serious purpose: to effect change for good | Photo by Canstock
Here’s your chance to dob in a bad document and inspire better with the Brainstrain option of the People’s Choice Award!
When we’re forced to wrestle with a hard-to-read document, we grumble quietly or even complain loudly. It could be a form we need to complete, a contract or financial agreement we have to sign, or other vital information we need. If they’re not clearly written or presented, all can inspire a range of negative reactions!
Inaccessible information has serious effects
We often joke about dense, unhelpful, or poorly worded documents. We label them gobbledygook or jargon and then forget about them. But for many people, inaccessible information has more serious consequences. Barriers to understanding create disadvantage, mistakes, and stress. Lives are affected and the cost can be high.
So here’s your chance to put a spotlight on a bad document and prevent more harm. Nominate it for the 2022 People’s Choice Brainstrain Award! This award goes to the document or webpage most notable for confusing or disadvantaging its target audience. Judges take into account the number of people likely to be affected and the degree of frustration or harm caused. Any member of the public can make a nomination.
Do your bit to create a fairer and more respectful society
Although the ‘prize’ is given in good humour at the ceremony, the award has a very serious purpose — to prompt change and create a fairer and more respectful society. Many winners have accepted the feedback graciously and gone on to rewrite the offending text. Thousands of people have been positively affected by those rewrites, so here’s a chance to play your part.
Take action now and be a catalyst for change. (Nominations are kept confidential — your name and details are not made available to the perpetrator!)
Nominate a Brainstrain
Find out more about the People’s Choice Awards
Posted In: 2022 Plain Language Awards, People's Choice awards
Best communication, Brainstrain, gobbledygook, People's Choice, Plain Language Awards, Worst Brainstrain
Shine the light on clear communication | Photo of colourful lights and reflections on Whairepo Lagoon by Ann Kilpatrick on Excio
Write and its sister company WriteMark are the founding sponsors of the Plain Language Awards — raising the bar for clear communication in New Zealand, and now in Australia too. Both Write and WriteMark are continuing their support for the Awards in 2022 as major sponsors.
Write chief executive Lynda Harris sees sponsorship of the Plain Language Awards as another way Write can champion the positive impact that clear communication has on people’s lives.
We support the Awards because they celebrate clear communication in business and government organisations. Everyone who enters the Awards, or who nominates a People’s Choice entry, is doing their bit to make the world a clearer place.
We believe that everyone in the community has the ethical and democratic right to understand communications that are central to their lives — government forms, legal documents, financial applications and agreements, terms and conditions, and more.
Ultimately, we want people to be able to understand important information. When that information is as clear as possible, they can make decisions more easily — especially those related to health, financial, and legal matters.
Let’s get the plain language message out
The Awards celebrate the communicators who create clear, accessible documents and websites. And in doing so, the Awards help to share the message that we all benefit from plain language in everyday life.
Plain language enables us all to participate more easily in society and make important legal, financial, and health decisions based on better understanding. That’s got to be a good outcome!
Check out the Awards categories for 2022
Are you willing to join the call for clear communication?
A plain language approach to communication means truly committing to putting customers and colleagues first — a culture-changing shift in how business and society operate. Our sponsors are joining the call for fairer, clearer communication from all sectors.
If you’re interested in supporting the 2022 Plain Language Awards, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you and have you on our team.
Meet our sponsors
Become a sponsor
Posted In: 2022 Plain Language Awards, Sponsors
clear communication, People's Choice Awards, Plain Language Awards, sponsors, Sponsorship, Write Limited, WriteMark
It’s time for clarity like these crystal clear reflections at Lake Dunstan, Bendigo in Otago, New Zealand | Photo by Stewart Watson on Excio
With entries for the 2022 Awards opening very soon, we’ve been making a few changes at Awards Central!
Welcome to our new Awards coordinator
First of all, we welcome our new Awards coordinator, Shelly Shah, to the Awards Working Group. Shelly will be helping us with all aspects of the 2022 Awards — from organising the entry process and confirming sponsors and judges, right through to coordinating the Awards ceremony in late October. You’ll hear more from Shelly as we move through the various phases of the Awards.
Write Limited is proud to sponsor the Awards and provides administrative support as part of its sponsorship.
New year, new name
Have you noticed a slight change in our branding? Yes, the Awards are now called the Plain Language Awards.
Some of you commented in the survey at the end of 2021 recommending this change. Like you, we hope that changing the name of the Awards will make the event even more inclusive. And our trustees agreed unanimously with the proposal.
Changing the name of the Awards reflects the general shift to talk about ‘plain language’ in many community and business contexts, rather than ‘plain English’. You’ll have noticed that the Plain Language Bill that’s going through New Zealand’s Parliament also uses ‘plain language’ in its title!
The term ‘plain English’ is still relevant in international contexts when we wish to talk about plain English contrasted with, for example, plain Japanese or plain Spanish.
Awards founder Lynda Harris says:
We’ve been keen to update the name of the Awards for some time. But we knew we’d have a lot to do even though we’re only changing one word! We decided to make it happen for 2022. The Awards have been running for an incredible 17 years and this change feels like a fantastic refresh of our brand!
Awards patron Chloe Wright says:
‘Language’ is so relevant to today.
Our fabulous designer and long-term sponsor, Craig Christensen of Graphic Solutions, has been working his magic and is updating our branding elements and the website.
Thanks for your feedback on the 2021 Awards
Thanks to everyone who replied to our survey with their feedback. You can read the results of the survey on our website. Overall you thought the online ceremony worked well, enabling more people to join from around New Zealand and the rest of the world. And it’s great to hear that you agree the Awards are still making a difference!
Find out what people said about the Awards in 2021
Posted In: 2022 Plain Language Awards, Communications
Industry awards, plain language, Plain Language Awards, sponsors