One-day Plain English training course that teaches techniques for producing documents that are clear and concise.
Clear, reader-focused documents written in Plain English provide meaningful information that is easy to understand and act upon. Providing clear and concise information improves efficiency, effectiveness and helps your business stand out from the rest with an improved image.
Our Plain English course investigates what readers look for in a document, and teaches simple processes to ensure these needs are met. You learn how to:
- Write clearly, effectively and quickly.
- Use Plain English to develop a concise, readable and pleasing writing style.
- Apply the principles of Plain English to any document type, from emails to reports.
- Project a positive image of your business.
- Avoid common errors in grammar, spelling and word usage.
- Communicate precisely what is meant.
Plain English training is available on-request only, i.e. one-to-one training or a ‘closed’ course for your group. We don’t currently offer scheduled (public) Plain English courses. This approach means that we can tailor your training to your exact business needs.
We can host the training at one of our centres, or your venue anywhere in the UK.
Plain English courses are hosted by highly experienced instructors, all of whom have held senior authoring/writing roles in business. For further details, see Expert trainers.
How will I learn?
Training combines lecture, demonstration and hands-on practice.
Exercises provide activity-based experience and help build delegates’ confidence writing in Plain English. These exercises can be tailored to deal with issues specific to your business.
You have ample opportunity to discuss specific requirements with the trainer.
Plain English training guide and certificate
Course delegates receive:
- A comprehensive training guide, to refer to throughout the course, and to use as a refresher back in the work-place.
- Job aids and roadmaps to use post-course.
- An e-certificate confirming successful completion of a plain English training course. Click here to see an example of the certificate you receive.
After course support
Following Plain English training, delegates are entitled to 30 days’ email support from their trainer to help with any post-course issues. For further details, see Support.
Standard course times are 9.30am–4.30pm.
As we’d be hosting this course for you/your group, there’s usually flexibility to change these to suit you, e.g. start or end 30 minutes earlier or later.
Payment for business writing training can be made bank transfer or card. View training course payment options.
We accept purchase orders from UK-registered companies.
Cancellations and postponements
If an on-request Plain English course booking is cancelled giving less than 20 working days’ notice, a cancellation fee is payable. View cancellation terms.
If an on-request Plain English course booking is postponed giving less than 20 working days’ notice, a postponement fee is payable. View postponement terms.
Terms and conditions
Plain English courses are hosted by Nigel Platts, Crow Dillon-Parkin, Robert Bullard and Peter Dillon-Parkin.
Nigel is a Co-Founder of Armada with over thirty five years’ experience in user-assistance in a wide range of roles including Technical Writer, Manager, Consultant and Trainer.
As well as hosting Armada’s technical writing courses, Nigel manages Armada’s in-house team of writers.
Nigel continues to undertake projects from time to time to keep up-to-date with the latest technologies and practices. His areas of expertise include software for local government, accountancy and finance.
Crow has thirty years’ experience in technical authoring, and writing for business in the wider sense.
Her love of language, combined with a natural pickiness and attention to detail, has been put to good use in a variety of editing, writing, management and training roles.
Crow is a highly-experienced learning specialist who believes strongly in empowering authors through training. Clients for whom she has developed and delivered technical and business communication skills training include FW Pharma Systems, the Open College, the BBC, and Fitness First.
Crow has two degrees and a Certificate in Education. She is currently working on a range of books based on the writing courses she has developed.
Robert has over twenty five years’ experience in a varied range of writing roles including technical author, copywriter, feature writer and freelance journalist.
He has worked for several national newspapers and magazines including The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Local Government Chronicle and Community Care, and has experience in the PR and media industries having ventured into national and regional radio, giving interviews and writing press releases.
Robert also carries out regular training course development work, and he delivers a variety of training courses in all aspects of writing for business.
He particularly enjoys relaying the knowledge he has acquired in his extensive and diverse career.
Peter has thirty years’ experience in the IT industry in roles that have included Programmer, Author, Trainer, Business Analyst, Senior Manager and Education Management Consultant.
Peter’s technical authoring career began when, as a systems manager, he was asked to write a portable data terminal manual for sales reps. The reps learned how to use the new equipment, and Peter had found his niche.
He has written, designed and project-managed everything from printed manuals and technical specifications to online help and computer-based training materials, specialising in writing for an international audience. An expert in document automation and information re-purposing, he uses templates to avoid endlessly reinventing the wheel when producing documents.
Peter develops and teaches a wide range of technical and business writing training courses. Clients for whom Peter has recently consultancy services and training to include Learning Tree International, The Guardian, Canon Europe, the BBC, the MoD and the UN.
Why good writing matters
- Making your business more effective
- Adding value to the public image of your business
- Increased profitability through better communication
Identifying your audience and objective
- Reader-focused and writer-focused writing
- Assessing your audience
- Identifying your audience’s preferred writing style
- Determining the document’s objective
Planning your writing
- The pre-writing phase
- Collecting and organising information
- Preparing your structure
- Outliner tools
- Testing your structure
- Drafting and revising
- Meeting deadlines
Using plain English
- Getting the right sentence length and type
- Using active voice
- Why active voice is effective
- When passive voice should be used
- Imperative voice and when it should be avoided
- Avoiding nominalizations
- Using ‘you’ and ‘we’
- Appropriate words
- Using positive language
- Tables and lists
Avoiding common pitfalls
- Reviewing your writing
- Building a grammar and punctuation toolbox
- Applying essential editing techniques
- Checking and amending your document
- Eliminating spelling and typographical errors
- Identifying and dealing with…
- Fragmented and run-on sentences
- Misused words
- Myths in writing
- Split infinitives
- Beginning and ending sentences