Plain Language, Rules

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The Local Government Association, a UK government agency, has created a ‘blacklist‘ of words for council communication. The list includes items like ‘Capacity Building’, ‘Worklessness’ and some more dubious ones such as ‘Capacity’ and ‘Bottom-Up’. Generally speaking, a list of banned words seems like a good idea, it forces you to rethink your sentence structure and how you explain initiatives or concepts.

In an attempt to sound smart or forward thinking, organisations use abstract terms to explain simple concepts. Capacity Building? How about teaching and learning? Management and Sustainability consultants, too often, rely on complicated terms to upsell their services and maintain an aura of deep thinking. The end result is a document full of fancy words that no one really understands. Keep it Simple, Stupid.