Fewer words for the wisePosted on: November 21, 2014 Posted in: Tips for better PLE
When you create public legal education and information (PLE) materials, less is usually more. We’ve said that many times here, but it’s a principle that can be hard to stick to, especially when you’re busy trying to decode confusing and complicated legislation for your clients on a daily basis.
Health care workers face similar challenges. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many health care organizations don’t use plain language as much as they should. This can make it hard for people to understand and use information materials.
In response to this, the CDC created a series of one-page posters – available in PDF format here. The first poster in the series, Plain language – communication your audience understands the first time, is an 11 point checklist which covers organizing the structure of your piece, choosing words carefully and making information easy to find.
The other three posters in this series are even pithier:
- Cut it out: Delete unnecessary words, sentences and paragraphs.
- Mind your jargon: Choose words and numbers that your audience knows
- What’s your point? Put the most important message first
We’re sharing these posters because we think they are useful reminders for those of us who provide legal information that it is important to keep things simple. Indeed, we’ve written here before (at greater length) about jargon and about the use of numbers in PLE.
See also CLEO’s Better Legal Information Handbook for more information on clear language writing tips.