Plain English editing, writing and training service -
provided by the National Adult Literacy Agency.

PLAIN 2015

The conference that had it all and achieved important outcomes for plain English

On 17 September, top plain language experts from around the world and people new to plain language gathered to the opening of PLAIN's 2015 conference in Dublin Castle. There was a palatable air of excitement - and, the conference did not disappoint.

The theme for this 10th PLAIN conference was Clearer language, greater efficiency and effectiveness - a theme that reflects the importance of communicating clearly in all aspects of business and life. PLAIN is a volunteer, nonprofit organisation of plain language advocates, professionals, and organisations committed to plain language. Its growing network includes members from over 20 countries. Both PLAIN and NALA (through its Plain English Editing and Training Service) work to improve the quality of organisations' print and online communications. Clear communication benefits all involved, including people with literacy needs.

PLAIN 2015 gave delegates and contributors an opportunity to discuss plain language and to push the discussion of plain language forward. In particular, it allowed for discussion of the benefits of plain language and how should it develop - while keeping a keen focus on readers' expectations, needs and wants.

The conference in numbers

Event name: PLAIN 2015 Conference (10th conference)

Theme: Clearer language, greater efficiency and effectiveness

Date: 17-19 September 2015

Venue: Dublin Castle Conference Centre, Ireland

Days: 2 full days (18-19 September 2015)

Delegates: 260

Programme contributors: 71

Concurrent sessions: 30

Keynote speakers: 5 (Belgium, Canada, USA, UK and Ireland)

PLAIN conference: number 10 (previous conferences were held in Sydney, Vancouver, Washington DC, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Houston, and so on)

Countries represented: 18

Continents represented: 5

Sponsors and partners: 25

Award ceremonies: 2 The Christine Mowat Plain Language Achievement Award and the NALA Plain English Awards, Ireland's first plain English awards, sponsored by Mason Hayes & Curran - leading law firm

Speed mentoring (© Dominique Joseph): Two lunch time sessions but the speed mentoring was a first for PLAIN conferences

International meetings help over the period of the conference: 2

Marriage proposals - and acceptance: 1 (our congratulations to Kathyrn and her partner Brian from the USA who got engaged on the afternoon of the 17 September!)

Conference - who attended?

The delegate list packed a punch. Delegates included national and international plain language - and usability specialists, policy makers, representatives from regulatory bodies, other international bodies, communication professionals, community members, students and allied professionals.

How important was the conference for plain language?

The conference was extremely important for plain language.

Some of the main benefits for plain language include:

  1. a fresh stock of materials and research to plain language is now available on the conference website: www.plain2015.ie;
  2. greater awareness of the importance of plain language achieved through the media and your support;
  3. valuable networking opportunity (as you can see from the the attendees listed above); and
  4. a greater awareness among government departments about the role of plain language.

What delegates said about the conference?

Some typical quotes from conference contributors:

"Congratulations to you and all the other team members for staging such a great conference. These events may seem like pyrotechnic displays, with all the hard work exploding in a three-day burst of fire, smoke and light, but Dublin 2015 will live long in the memory of all who attended."

Martin Cutts, Plain Language Commission, UK

"I'm left with a positive aftertaste of the conference. Chatting to colleagues in the office about how weekend [conference] went, I have an enthusiasm that stems from the great ideas I picked up and the endorsement from an international group that I'm on the right track in my work. Well done to you and all at NALA."

Mike Gogan, Tone of Voice Lead, Customer Solutions, Group Marketing, AIB

Thanks again for your support.
NALA and PLAIN

Both PLAIN and NALA (through its Plain English Editing and Training Service to organisations and other services) work to improve the quality of organisations' print and online communications. Clear communication benefits all involved, including people with literacy needs.