Business writing training
Plain English training

1 day £please call

Key details

Key details

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.

Expert trainers

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.

General information

General information

Course times

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.


See Accommodation local to our training centres.

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

Training course bookings are subject to our terms and conditions.


Expert trainers

Expert trainers

Plain English courses are hosted by Nigel Platts, Crow Dillon-Parkin, Robert Bullard and Peter Dillon-Parkin.

Nigel Platts

Trainer Nigel Platts

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 Dillon-Parkin

Trainer Crow Dillon-Parkin

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 Bullard

Trainer Robert BullardRobert 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 Dillon-Parkin

Trainer Peter Dillon-ParkinPeter 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.

Course content

Course content

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
    • Mind-mapping
    • Brainstorming
    • 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
    • Proofreading
  • Identifying and dealing with…
    • Fragmented and run-on sentences
    • Misused words
    • Homonyms
  • Myths in writing
    • Split infinitives
    • Beginning and ending sentences
    • Synonyms
    • Pronouns
    • Modifiers
“I thought the course was excellent, and Nigel did a great job - the day flew by and I learnt a lot, and picked up several useful tips which I'm already putting into action. Thanks Nigel!”

Beth B

“I thought Nigel was a great trainer and I particularly enjoyed his examples and anecdotes.”

Sophia W

“Course was very well run and informative.”

Michelle B

“I found Nigel's presentation skills really good. He had a perfect mix of humour and teaching which made everyone feel comfortable and made the session very enjoyable.”

Andrew W

“Nigel was a very good trainer and made the whole day interesting.”

Jackie W

“The course structure worked well. There was a good mix of people in the group which made the day enjoyable.”

Dave A

“The trainer had a good presenting style and kept the attention of the room at all times. The training material was relevant to the business and helped engage the delegates.”

John G

“Nigel was a very good presenter and made the day fun and interesting.”

Jo S

“The training was extremely relevant and helpful and delivered in a very easy and friendly manner.”

Lynn G

“I found the course very beneficial and useful as I write/send a lot of letters and emails.”

Shannon A

“I enjoyed this course and found it to be very useful.”

Emily W

“Nigel was a great presenter and did a fantastic job at keeping our attention all day. Thank you.”

Claire K

“An absolutely fascinating course which is very much relevant to myself in my role managing other members of the team, and has already proved invaluable! Nigel Platts was one of the most inspiring course leaders that I have had the opportunity to train with. Thank you for the opportunity!”

Benjamin B

“A really enjoyable and beneficial day. The day followed nicely and it was a pleasure to listen to Nigel.”

Antonis P

“The trainer was really helpful with everyone and was a good day. The tasks meant we were able to practice. The letter writing task was the most useful. Also, the trainer provided further research for my particular area/job.”

Sarah F

“Nigel made the course interesting and relevant with stories for reference.”

Lisa E

“Nigel has a good style and made the course very interesting.”

Richard H

“I learned a great deal about the correct use of grammer. Really enjoyed the course.”

Matthew F

“I would just like to say that the trainer was very good he kept us alert throughout the training and was able to put the information over in a very clear and concise way.”

Sarah M

“Good session, easy to follow and kept interesting at all times.”

Hannah W

“This was an excellent course and one all employees should attend.”

James F

“The training I received was very professional and useful. The trainer gave me lots of practical advice on how to improve English writing for Business.”

William Z