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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06 June 2014

Giving and receiving feedback — you can learn these important and useful skills

Many of our clients ask us for coaching on how to give and receive feedback about writing. These are skills you can learn.

In our monthly Document Café sessions, we give you feedback about your documents. We’ll tell you over drinks and nibbles what works and what doesn’t; we’ll tell you how well the elements of good design in your document are working for your reader — the structure, the language, and the presentation.

Think of how the elements of good design work in the world outside writing — in beautiful houses, furniture, buildings, tools, and clothes. For this plain English specialist, patterns, colours, and shapes working well together make beautiful patchwork quilts. Quilting is an excellent outlet for a Write person’s skills.

Writers of documents and makers of quilts all seek feedback from others about what works and what doesn’t; that is, how well their patterns, words and colours, layout and shapes work together.

I attended a Kaffe Fassett quilting workshop earlier this year. Kaffe Fassett designs beautiful fabrics, and creates beautiful quilts. In the last hour of the workshop he gave useful and thoughtful feedback to each quilter. He found something positive in every person’s work, then skilfully led us through the elements of good design and how they could work together better in our quilts.

Giving useful feedback is what we do at the Document Café. You’re welcome to register and attend our next Document Café on Wednesday 11 June, 4.30–6pm.

It’s free. Or check out our document services here to learn how to give and receive feedback. Coffee only during work hours, but you’ll get the whole session to yourself.

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