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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23 August 2010

How words 'make the grade' to get in the dictionary

A friend recently referred me to this article by Max Davidson of the Telegraph newspaper. Some of the words that don't make it to the dictionary are still rather inspired! Check out Max's article here:

09 August 2010

A business case — the first step on the road to plain English

Plain English is not just a ‘nice to have’. It’s an essential tool for boosting your business’s bottom line. In-house, your people save time reading your business writing. And plain English makes it easier for your customers to do business with you.

Am I preaching to the converted? Are you itching to transform the way your business writes, but unsure where to start? Here’s our approach to getting that transformation under way.

Read ‘Making a business case for plain English’

03 August 2010

Using plain language to explain a doctoral thesis — in just 3 minutes

Recently Moira Smith was a guest speaker at one of our weekly staff meetings here at Write. Moira presented her entry in the University of Otago ‘Three Minute Thesis’ (3MT) competition.

Moira’s a research fellow and PhD candidate in the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago in Wellington. Her research is about the food environment for children’s sport. She started her research this year and recently won the Wellington heat of the 3MT competition.

What’s the 3MT competition all about?
Students speak about their thesis topic for 3 minutes and are allowed to show just one PowerPoint slide. They need to communicate the essence of their research in a succinct, engaging presentation. They’ll answer the question ‘what’s your thesis about?’ in a way that a lay audience can readily understand.

Judges look for appropriate communication style. They consider how well the audience understands the purpose and scope of the research topic, and whether the presentation makes the audience want to know more. Speak for longer than 3 minutes and you’ll be disqualified!

What are the benefits of 3MT?
3MT is all about effective communication. Researchers develop their communication skills. The audience gets to hear about research projects in language they understand. The competition helps to bring research into the mainstream — and to bring plain language into the academic world!

‘Thesis Idol’
This is only the second year of the competition in New Zealand, but public interest is growing. Students will have a studio audience of 400 at the Dunedin finals, which will be on Cue TV (SKY Chanel 110) in early September. More details soon.

We wish Moira well for the next round of the competition! She’ll be going to Dunedin for the final in late August. The winner goes on to compete in Brisbane at the Australasian final. Our fingers are crossed!