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Wellington businesses, make yourselves clear

Wellington businesses, make yourselves clear

Media release: WriteMark Plain English Awards Trust


Do you strive for simplicity and clarity in everything you write at work? Do you work hard to ensure people in Wellingtonknow exactly what they’re getting when they do business with you?

Then it’s time to come out of the woodwork and get the recognition you deserve.

Entries are now open for the WriteMark New Zealand Plain English Awards, which are held each year to celebrate excellent business writing and raise public awareness about the benefits of plain English. Hundreds of entries are expected from around New Zealand, and this is Wellington'sopportunity to shine.

Documents submitted could include brochures, forms, contracts, webpages, terms and conditions—anything that conveys information. Even a single sentence that’s been made easier to understand can pick up an award.

Members of the public can also make People’s Choice nominations to enter Wellington businesses they think communicate particularly well—or badly. The Brainstrain Awards are reserved for organisations whose confusing language or gobbledygook could cause the public significant harm.

Last year the top prize for ‘Best Organisation’, valued at $10,000, was won by Wellington’s Office of the Banking Ombudsman. Finalists from Wellington in various categories included Ocean Design, The Seafood Training Organisation, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and web development firm Springload. Brainstrain Awards went to Vodafone and the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.

Awards founder Lynda Harris says many businesses enter because they care about improving the way they communicate, not because they’re already plain English experts.

“A recent survey of Awards winners and finalists over the past five years showed that using plain English improved staff confidence and morale, streamlined procedures, and brought positive feedback from customers.

“Participants often become quite passionate about clarity, and that becomes infectious when workmates and managers see how efficiency increases and complaints drop away as a result.”

To cope with growing entry numbers this year’s judging panel has been expanded to 18 international plain English experts. It includes Martin Cutts, one of the founders of the plain English movement in the UK and author of The Oxford Guide to Plain English.

This year’s Awards evening will be held 3 September in the Banquet Hall at the Beehive, hosted by Hon Christopher Finlayson, Attorney-General and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage.

Entering the WriteMark New Zealand Plain English Awards is free for any New Zealand-based organisation. Wellington firms can find out more at www.plainenglishawards.org.nz.

Entries close on 28 June.

ends

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