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    How to write in plain language
    About the course

    Get started in plain language or build on existing skills with this flexible training course.

    Learn how to write in plain language using a tried-and-tested approach – more than 9,000 delegates from seven countries have benefited from this training. Our online-only course is run by tutors with 15 years’ experience in training plain language. It is designed to be flexible and to meet a variety of needs and levels – from most basic to advanced.

    What is plain language?

    Plain language is a proven set of tools and techniques that enable you to write clearly. Many laws and regulations make plain language obligatory. These include the Consumer Rights Act (UK) and the General Data Protection Act (GDPR).

    The benefits of plain language go beyond complying with the law – they help your readers to find what they need, understand what they find, and use what they find to meet their needs.

    Plain language also helps businesses to build trust and loyalty, and to save time and money.

    Design your own training

    You can choose five modules from any of the following:

    Strategy and background information

    • Laws and regulations about plain language
    • How to know whether you’re writing in plain language
    • Readability scores and how to use them
    • How to build support for plain language in a large organisation

    Core skills in plain language

    • How to plan and structure your content
    • Basics of how to write in plain language
    • Basics of design and layout
    • Grammar and punctuation – a refresher course

    Specialised skills in plain language

    • Tools and techniques to build empathy with your readers
    • How to deal with legal jargon (words with a specific meaning in law)
    • How to get rid of legalese and other unnecessarily complex words
    • Creating tone personas
    • Writing for translation
    • Inclusive language
    • Repurposing academic publications into articles for general readership
    • User testing on a shoestring
    • Writing about Covid-19
    • Accessibility on a shoestring

    How you learn

    The course is online with up to five participants in a series of live online sessions.

    The five modules make up seven hours of training. Each group can choose to break the time into two or more shorter sessions. There are practical exercises and assignments throughout the course, with a customised assignment at the end. We run the training through video conferencing software (usually Zoom or Microsoft Teams) with WhatsApp as a back-up technology.

    Who is this course for?

    You can customise your choice of modules to create a course for a variety of groups:

    • A newly formed content design or content strategy team will benefit from the modules in core skills. Even if the individual team members already have core skills, the course will give a common language and approach to the team.
    • Content professionals with a grounding in plain language or content design can use the specialist modules to build deeper skills in applying plain language to specific types of content.
    • Lawyers and anyone else who writes legal content will benefit from the specialist legal modules. Legal design is a focus area of our training and these modules are run by a plain-language lawyer.

    What does it cost?

    The course is for up to five delegates so it’s ideal for small businesses or for teams within large organisations. You’re also welcome to book as a group of individuals from different organisations. You pay for the course, and not for each person, so it’s better to take up all five places.

    You choose the modules that you want – and we create a seven-hour programme for you. The price is €2,000 (excluding VAT).


    More than 9,000 delegates from seven countries have already benefited from this plain language training. Here is some of their feedback:

    “The course made me aware of the principles involved in plain English – that it is not dumbing down the language.”

    “The trainers are knowledgeable about legal and technical language and how to simplify it.”

    “I received valuable insight into my own writing – and the tools to improve it.”

    “The course was fast-paced and a lot of fun.”

    “The course gives a straightforward process of how to write content – it has also given us a head start in setting up internal standards for plain language.”

    Further plain language training options

    We also offer a number of other plain language courses, including:

    If you are interested in any of these alternative courses, please email recruit@firehead.net and we’d be happy to provide you with further information.

    Course type
    Live online
    Course duration
    7 hours
    Course date
    €2,000 for 5 people
    Course tutor
    Frances Gordon, Candice Burt

    Frances has devoted her 20-year career to enabling people and organisations to communicate clearly. Frances is well-known as an advocate for plain language in the legal, financial and technology industries. With her help, many organisations have been able to transform ‘small print’ into useful, usable communication. Besides being founder of Simplified, she has held tenures at large banks, technology companies and fintechs.

    Candice is a plain-language lawyer, who combines the rigour of legal writing with best practices in communication. Her focus area is legal and financial documents. She believes that even the most complex legal contract can and must be made accessible to its readers. Over the past 20 years, she has become known as an inspiring trainer and impressive conference speaker.

    Contact us today to arrange your plain language course or for further information.