Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators


Does your annual report tell a compelling story? | Photo by Ann Kilpatrick on

Excellence! It’s what the judges are looking for, but what exactly does that mean?

Whether you’ve chosen a print, web, or video format, an excellent annual report will have some stand-out features. The report will be easy to read for the intended audience, be designed beautifully in keeping with your brand, and tell a compelling story of accomplishment and impact.

Does your report pass the ‘easy to read’ test?

Testing readability is easy to do. Take your cue from what you want as a reader! Pretend you are reading another company’s annual report, without necessarily having a lot of detailed subject knowledge. And you’re busy! What do you want? Most people say they want the content to be interesting, without jargon, buzz words, or padding. And everyone always wants to get the main points quickly.

Putting yourself in your reader’s shoes will automatically focus your energy on making your content crystal clear and readable. (Hint: the judges will be looking for familiar words, generally shorter sentences, great flow, and informative headings.)

Does your report look good?

Gone are the days of lengthy, dreary annual reports with boring covers and bland walls of text. The judges are looking for clever visual design that supports the content, brings key messages to life, and stands for who you are. (But don’t get too clever! The judges are not looking for a ‘pretty’ design that serves no particular purpose.)

Are you telling a compelling story of accomplishment and impact?

We all know that stories connect us to each other and convey the human experience. How you make your readers feel has so much to do with your report’s success.

Your stakeholders want to know what happened during the past year, and the impact you made, in as relatable a way as possible. Whether times were good or bad, your readers, and our judges, will appreciate the story — the who, what, when, why, and how — behind the numbers and activities. They want your report to pass the ‘So what?’ test!

Show how your annual report makes the grade

Think your report is a winner? Enter your annual report by 31 July.

Check out the entry criteria for the Best Plain Language Annual Report

See this handy checklist on what makes a great annual report

Be inspired by the 2021 winners


Posted In: 2022 Plain Language Awards, Annual report

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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


Posted In: 2022 Plain English Awards, Communications

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Keep sharing your love of plain language with the world | Photo by Cristian Dina on Pexels

Now that entries for the 2021 Plain English Awards are closed, our judges are hard at work reviewing all the wonderful entries we received. But that doesn’t mean everything stops until we announce the finalists and then the winners. You can still spread the good word and share your love story for plain language.

Keep the conversation buzzing through our gallery

You can browse our video gallery to hear everyone’s stories about their love for plain language, the journey they went on for their entry, or about a project they’re working on.

Look through our video gallery and hear what others have to say

We’d love to hear your plain language love story — we’re keen to hear from all our local and international plain language companions!

Tell your plain language story in a video

Why not create your own video to share in our gallery? Sometimes the hardest part about making a video is where to begin. Believe me, it’s simpler than you think!

You don’t have to be Peter Jackson and direct the next fantasy epic (although that would be amazing). And we’re not looking for Down Under’s Next Top Video Maker.

You could talk to your phone and record a short video. Or you could create a slideshow or animation with either text or voice-over to tell your story. Or you might interview a colleague. We’ve got all sort of styles and formats in the gallery.

Here are some ideas for topics you might cover in your video. 

  • What does plain language mean to you?
  • Why does plain language matter in your industry?
  • How did your customers react when you used plain language in a document?

Check out our guidelines for creating your plain language story

Meet other plain language fans

You’re not alone in your love for plain language! Remember that you have friends all over the world who are passionate about plain language.

Our video gallery features stories from people all over the globe who appreciate all things plain and simple — and you can feature alongside them! So have fun and continue to spread the word about your plain language love story.

Find out who sponsors the Awards and loves plain language as much as you

Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date on Awards news

Posted In: 2021 Plain English Awards, Communications, Story theme

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Share the stories of your plain language projects and inspire others! Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

This year, we’re introducing something new to shine a spotlight on the amazing achievements of our entrants and supporters.

We’re inviting you to share videos telling the story behind your document, project, or passion, or to tell your story of why plain language matters to you.

Why share your stories?

We’re all keen to see what a plain language approach is like in action, and the work you’ve done to achieve it.

Your stories are a chance for you to acknowledge the hard work that your team has put into the project. Your stories will showcase the thinking, planning, and drafting that goes into producing plain language content.

We hope your stories will inspire others to see how plain language can make a difference in people’s lives. No story is too big or too small!

Share your plain language story

Your stories will form part of a video gallery

We’ll showcase your stories on a gallery on the Plain English Awards website so that together we can inspire, challenge, and enlighten others. Your videos will be promoted in our newsletter, and will appear alongside those from other individuals and organisations. The story gallery will be a wonderful resource to share with your own audiences too.

As Awards project manager Jonny puts it:

It’s clear to us that, every year, projects and documents that are entered into the Plain English Awards have often taken a lot of thought and effort. Previously, our judges have been the only ones to see and enjoy your work.

In 2021 we want to know why you used a plain language approach. We also want to celebrate the positive impact that plain language has on organisations, customers, and the public.

View stories of plain language in our gallery

Discover some of our previous winners

Find out more about the entry process

Posted In: 2021 Plain English Awards

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Great news! The Plain English Awards are back for 2021. Photo by Natalia Łyczko on Unsplash

Here’s the news we know lots of you have been waiting for — the Plain English Awards are back for 2021! They’ll look a little different this year, with a virtual ceremony and some new ways to share your inspiring work in clear communication.

Fresh Awards with a new theme

This year’s Awards will have the theme of Story. We’ll be inviting all entrants to share the stories behind their plain language projects in short videos. We’ll showcase your stories on the Awards website so that others can be inspired and enlightened by your work.

As Awards patron Chloe Wright puts it:

We need to be innovative and adapt to the current circumstances. I’m right behind the idea of sharing stories and as a storyteller myself, I will love reading of these experiences.

The Awards aim to bring plain language into common use and raise awareness in the community. So we hope the stories you share will show others the what, why, and how of your projects. You’ll get the opportunity to share what excites you about plain language, and the impact your work has had on the world.

Watch for more guidance soon on our Story theme.

All the familiar categories are back

We’ll have all categories available in 2021, including the two People’s Choice categories for Best Communication and the infamous Brainstrain.

Entries will open soon. Meanwhile put your thinking caps on and start creating the stories behind your potential entries.

Read about the 3-step process for entering the 2021 Awards

Take a note of these key dates

Here are the key dates we’ve planned so far for the 2021 Awards.

  • Mid-April: Video story submissions open
  • 1 June: Entries open
  • 2 August: Entries close
  • 16 September: Finalists announced
  • 14 October: Winners announced

Let’s keep in touch

Sign up to our newsletter for the latest news

And if you’re interested in sponsoring the 2021 Awards, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact Melissa to find out about sponsor benefits at

Posted In: 2021 Plain English Awards

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