Last week, Trevor Fenton from Plain English Law together with Niamh Kelly from Tigim, co-hosted a free Zoom taster session of their new Plain English Virtual Roundtable series.
The series, which will officially launch in January 2022, will focus on plain English writing and communications, and the commercial benefits that using plain language can have for businesses. The Roundtables will also offer practical tips and tools for commercial solicitors who are looking for alternatives to legalese when drafting business contracts and other legal documents.
The topic of the Roundtable was “Plain language T&Cs: less friction, happier customers.” Graeme Kerr, CEO and co-founder of the ecommerce marketplace Scots of the World, joined Trevor and Niamh on the panel as their industry guest.
The panel began the session by describing what the term ‘plain English’ meant for them. Trevor put it simply: “I think plain English is about being understood.”
He illustrated this point by talking about how legalese is not plain English, and why using legalese in T&Cs can create problems for businesses: “As a lawyer, I’m painfully aware that the biggest complaint from people is the absolute bafflegab of legalese they get, especially in contracts. When customers read it, it’s a jarring experience. It can actually threaten your brand.”
Niamh agreed: “Companies spend a lot of time and effort developing their brand and their brand voice, but it hardly ever translates to the legal side of things. They go back to old legalese habits. Companies that want to portray their brand as current and modern need to be speaking in modern and accessible language.”
Drawing on his own experience, Graeme compared the difference of using T&Cs written in legalese to plain English T&Cs: “Legalese documents can create a kind of mistrust between suppliers and companies. This is not a great way to start off a new business relationship. Re-writing our T&Cs in plain English took a little more effort but has definitely been worthwhile. Of the 50 brands we’ve signed on, we’ve received 3 queries about our T&Cs. And I was able to answer all of them because I actually understood the contract. It has saved our company a lot of time.”
You can watch the full recording of this Plain English Virtual Roundtable on-demand: https://bit.ly/PEL_YT
Our next Virtual Roundtable will be on Thursday 27 January 2022. Register to attend: https://bit.ly/rndtbl2
Scots of the World: www.scotsoftheworld.com