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BADM 225: Professional Communication for Business

Chester Fritz Library guide on plain language

Writing for your audience

Writing for your audience is the first rule of plain language. You are writing to meet the needs of your audience in a way that makes sense to them and using language they feel comfortable with. 

The first thing you need to do when considering your audience is to focus on what the reader want to know:

  • Do your research to understand who your audience is 
  • Understand what your audience wants or needs to know 
  • Make sure to state why what you are writing is important to the reader

A couple of other questions you can ask yourself to get a sense of what the reader would need to know includes: 

  • What does my audience already know? 
  • What questions might my audience have?
  • What are the best outcomes for my audience and agency? What do I need to say to get these outcomes? 

Active vs Passive voice

Use Active Voice 

This will help readers understand what you are trying to communicate. For more information on active vs. passive voice, see the guidelines for using active voice

Organizing your writing

The six main ways to organize your writing for plain language is to:

  • Make it easy to follow 
  • add useful headings 
  • have a topic sentence 
  • place the main idea before exceptions and conditions 
  • use transition words 
  • use lists