Thursday, April 16, 2009

Plainly Radio Four

Here's a short interview I did for BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight programme this evening. The subject matter is self-evident from the introduction.

There's nothing more important than clear communication.

6 comments:

Andrew Kerr said...

How more down to earth would the police be if this advice was followed.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Andrew - I couldn't agree more. I have to say that the majority of everyday cops don't have a problem here. Because most of the communication between police officers is verbal, it tends to be conversational and unambiguous. The problems occur when pen hits paper (or fingers hit keys) when people fall back into ghastly business speak. It's worst of all internally among the higher eschelons of management. Up there they speak a wholly different - and utterly confusing - language from us poor proles. Thanks for popping by!

Karen Redman said...

I am cognisant of and in agreement with the alterations that you are trying to effect!

Stevyn Colgan said...

Thanks Karen. I think. If only I understood what you wrote ...

Winifred said...

Totally agree.

Clear English isn't easy to write. I remember quite a few years ago Cheshire Council ran a plain English campaign and trained all their department staff to write clear and simple English. Apparently when they checked the information provided for the public by each department, the best was the transport department. When they were told this, they said that was probably because they were a bit thick. People seem to think that the more complicated the writing the more intelligent the person. Wrong!!!!!

Stevyn Colgan said...

Thanks Winifred. I teach plain Englis at times and it takes two whole days to get people to a stage where they can write clearly. My aim is that everything they write can be understood by the average reader after just one scan. No more, no less. I also point out that, sometimes, to be clear you have to use more words. But just cutting the waffle and the jargon usually results in shorter, snappier, more undersatandable prose. As for the idea that big words make you look intelligent ... Hell no. The best writers, actors, performers are those who get their point across. If the audience doesn't understand, they don't think 'Ooh, he's cleverer than me'. They think 'What an arse.'