Case study: Platform 51

Nigel first came to Platform 51 to train us in the use of clear language in June 2004, when he worked for a plain English company. The training helped me hugely as it backed up what I had been trying to persuade people about the use of clear language. But people move on, organisations grow and we needed another wave of training. We liked Nigel so much we asked him back after he had become independent to train 12 of us.

Our organisation has some really difficult messages to communicate so using clear language is vital. The information, advice and practical examples Nigel gave was put to good use by Platform 51 staff.

Nigel’s training style is relaxed, not patronising, and he encouraged us to fully discuss words we find ‘difficult’ to use or that are emotionally loaded.

Before the training I equipped Nigel with a number of our publications and he used these real examples of our work to demonstrate errors, and improvements we could have made. Many people who had worked on the documents were in the training session so it became more personal and more meaningful. Nigel handled it with great sensitivity. It was marvellous to see staff accept new ways of expressing themselves, ways that people could read and understand.

Nigel’s training helped me both as a writer and as an editor. I write with greater confidence and when I edit other people’s work I am a lot more confident in making decisions about what to scrap and why.

Every organisation that has something to say should invest in clear language training. And Nigel’s the man to do it.

Jane Tomlinson
Marketing and communications manager

Platform 51
Clarendon House
52 Cornmarket Street
Oxford OX1 3EJ

December 2010