This blog shares some of our thoughts about plain language, and the latest discussions about plain English and clear design in New Zealand, and around the world.

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12 October 2013

PLAIN 2013 Conference enlightens and inspires

What a privilege to be in Vancouver for the PLAIN 2013 Conference as hundreds of plain language practitioners and supporters from 19 countries commune. Or if the predictions of Neil James in this morning's plenary come true, we'll be plain language practitioners no more. We'll redefine our somewhat fragmented, multi-disciplinary profession as 'clear communication'. Our various disciplines from writer or editor to information designer, technical writer, or usability consultant (did I forget any?) will converge. No more problems describing your profession at those pesky school reunions.

In the second plenary, we heard the latest news about IC Clear from Karine Nicolay. Soon you'll be able to enrol in an international post-graduate course in clear communication.
Read about IC Clear

World Cafe followed, with 20 topics to choose from for a series of interactive roundtable discussions. We conversed through three topics for 20 minutes each. The themes of the ones I chose were: achieving long-term change, embedding clear language principles and practice within an organisation, and selling the need for plain language to management.

Legal language in legal aid and pro bono projects was the topic for after lunch. The country is different (the Canadian experience), but the problems are the same. Then an entertaining session of time-saving tips with Marcia Riley of Write Like a Pro fame before Josiah Fisk (More Carrot) delighted us with his maxims for messages and meta-messages, presented in his wonderfully visual way and timed to a tee.

The keen ones (most of them, I think) stayed on for the late shift when Sarah Stacy-Baynes and I presented together on the Cancer Society's project to rewrite their information booklet on lung cancer.

Looking forward to more inspirational stuff tomorrow.
Read more about PLAIN2013

1 comment:

  1. Clear communication is what we do. But is Clear Communicator a job title? Better than Plain English Consultant, I guess. Maybe Communicator is enough on its own?

    I quite like Paragraph Whisperer, or Document Navigator, or Message Massager. But I'll concede they don't carry the full meaning any more than Writer or Information Designer. We do them all, of course. I also quite like Noise Controller (since our job is to remove the noise that prevents messages reaching across the gulf between organisations and their audiences).

    Yes. Communicator is sounding better and better.