Writing in Plain English

by Shawn Harris, M.S. in Professional Writing and Technical Communication

Shawn Harris will give a presentation about Plain English during the April program meeting. The Plain English approach to writing encourages writers to present information clearly and simply and to avoid complex grammar and obscure jargon. Writers in many industries use Plain English to help their varied audiences understand complicated information. For example, some people who write laws and regulations use Plain English so that lawyers and nonlawyers can understand content that is crucial to their lives and businesses. Ms. Harris will discuss the principles of Plain English, how to create Plain Language experts through certification, and the x factor.

The program meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn Select at Greenway Plaza, 2712 Southwest Freeway (on the southbound feeder of SH 59). Self-parking (but not valet parking) at the Holiday Inn Select is included in the cost of each program meeting. You will receive a validation sticker when you arrive at the registration table.

5:30–6:25 P.M. Networking
6:30–7:45 P.M. Program

Members: $10
Unemployed members: $5
Students: $5
Nonmembers: $15

About the Speaker

Ms. Harris researched Plain English for her graduate thesis (“Plain English: The Efficacy of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Recommendations in Corporate Annual Reports and Implications for Individual Investors”). She studied the use of Plain English in management’s discussion and analysis sections of annual reports. This past October, she presented at the Sixth Plain Language Association International (PLAIN) Conference in Amsterdam. She presented on the topic of creating a Plain Language Institute that would oversee the issuance of a plain-language certification. Shawn has also presented the topic before audiences at the University of Houston-Downtown and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). She is currently serving as a board member for ASBPE Houston and is on the Advisory Committee for a Plain English workshop being held this fall at the University of Houston-Downtown.

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