Plain Language Consulting Services

I offer plain language writing and consulting services to consultants and companies. I can help you simplify complex forms, applications, contracts and more.

I offer two types of plain language services

Simplify and Sell

I help you craft copy that clearly explains what you offer. How you stand up to competitors. And why you’re a great choice.

Just Simplify

I help you unravel technical language for Mere Mortals. The goal is to enhance comprehension and customer experience.

Plain language consulting

Plain language is more than a simple “edit”. It’s a discipline that organizes, writes, and presents documents in a way that increases clarity, comprehension and user experience.

I’ve been a professional communication consultant since 1999. I’ve offered freelance plain language writing and communication consulting services since 2006, working from my home office near Toronto, Canada.

Today, I love working freelance with plain language consultants who need experienced help. And I also work with companies directly as well.

Plain language services might include:
  • Plain language assessment of existing documents
  • Helping you organize complex content
  • Plain languge writing and editing
  • Plain language peer review of your draft.
If you’re looking to simplify a document, I might ask you about:
  • Who uses the document
  • What users like and don’t like about the document
  • Where the document fits into your process
  • The sections of the document that present the most challenge for users
  • The similar documents your competitors’ use
  • Any surveys or user research you’ve done
  • Your corporate guidelines and writing style
  • Who will be reviewing and signing off on the simplified document
  • Any part of the document that has “prescribed” legal wording that must not be changed.

Of course, I’ll only ask questions that make sense for you. They'll vary depending on the type of writing you want. And there may be more or less than above.

I’ve worked with some of the best in the business...

And the type of plain language consulting projects I’ve worked on are quite specific. I'm comfortable with simplifying financial writing and insurance content. Plus:

  • Investment, group insurance and pension Statements
  • Insurance forms
  • Individual life insurance applications
  • Individual isurance illustrations – for universal life, participating life, whole life and more exotic hybrids
  • Information packages – that may be a mix of instructions, explanations and forms
  • Plain language contracts.

As you can imagine, this type of work is super detailed and exact. Some projects take many months. And to be candid, the work is not always easy (though the results can be amazing).

I'm going to say something now that few consultants will say publicly.

More and more companies may want their documents in plain language. But in many cases, there's a “we’ve done it this way forever” culture to overcome.

Some people are even threatened by the idea of plain language. As if it'll dumb down their message somehow. If you work for a big company, you may know what I mean...

Long way of saying.

Yes, I do offer freelance plain language services directly to companies. Absolutely. But most of my clients these days are consulting firms. Why?

Because most plain language projects affect many departments. And when that happens, it's better to have more than one set of eyes...

So! If you're a busy consultant who uses freelancers...

I’d love to help. I cut my teeth in the consulting trenches, so I know your world. I’m comfortable being a full team member, or working in the background. Plug me in anywhere, from RFP to first draft to final review.

And – if you’re not a consultant but like my style...

And you have a Monster document you want to tame for Mere Mortals, reach out. If I can help, I will.

Is your project too big for one freelancer?

I’ve worked on a number of plain language projects. Some lasting over a year. So I’ve witnessed the many challenges that can come up.

A good rule of thumb is this. If your document:

  • affects more than two departments or systems, and
  • requires more than two departments to sign off (plus Legal), and
  • if you know that you’ll be facing internal resistance or push-back…

Then you might be better off hiring a plain language consulting firm who has the experience to not only simplify your content. But to give you advice and support as you navigate the politics.

Why am I being so candid?

Plain language projects are an investment that can yield truly remarkable returns. But selfishly, I only want to work on projects where I can do a great job.

If you think that you need more hands on deck, I’d understand. And I’d be happy to make a referral to plain language professionals I know and trust.

Who knows? Perhaps I’ll end up as a writer on your Plain Language Team…

Other things I can help with

I’ve worn a few communication hats over the years. When you hire me for plain language consulting services, there are other ways I can help:

  • SEO writing and optimization
  • Deliver and edit in HTML
  • Work with your designer for layout and revisions (for ongoing clients)
  • Project management and quotes (for ongoing clients)
  • Manage complex revisions (for ongoing clients).

I don’t do the following:

  • Heavy-duty technical writing, such as equipment manuals or software instructions
  • Corporate communications, investor relations, press releases
  • Technical or legal review – that ball’s in your court.
Worth a chat?

CONTACT ME NOW


Where to next?

Connect now on LinkedIn – A sincere invitation to keep in touch. Five seconds – it's done!

How I work – Learn in detail how I work with clients: fees, work agreement, project approach and more.