The Power of Simple Tech Agreements: Why Plain Language is the Best Approach & How to Do It

Posted by Tom McKeever | Aug 01, 2020 | 0 Comments

In tech, we've all faced incomprehensible contracts, dense customer agreements, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) licenses that take three hours to read. There is a better approach. In this blog, we'll explain why keeping all of your legal agreements in simple, understandable language will make your customers happier and your business more productive.

  • Use Simple Language

Simple contract language can keep conflicts to a minimum. Your goal in any agreement should be to ensure that a new employee could pick up the contract and quickly understand what the contract requires from each party. Using simple language and keeping it short will make your agreements easier to read and ensure that both parties understand it. If both parties can quickly grasp the contract requirements and limits, you're much less likely to end up with an unhappy customer or vendor.

  • Jettison the Legalese

You don't need meaningless recitals before each paragraph or clause, and you don't need “heretofore,” “notwithstanding,” and “forthwith” to write a contract. These ten-dollar words might look impressive, but they also make it more difficult for both parties to understand their obligations and risks under the agreement quickly. That's bad for business. 

 Instead, look at your agreements with fresh eyes. If there's anything your eyes tend to skip over or rush through, you may need to simplify the language. Use bullet points to talk to your attorney about your goals for each contract and each party's obligations. Your objective should be to clearly state the responsibilities and limitations in the contract without extraneous language.

  • Avoid Unnecessary Technical Abbreviations

While you and your employees may understand terms like SaaS, RAID, and STS at a glance, think about your customers. Are all of the parties to your agreements going to be tech-savvy? To keep it simple, use the full description instead of the acronym. Writing out software-as-a-service, redundant array of independent disk, and security token service will instantly make contract requirements much clearer.

  • Avoid Passive Voice

Attorneys and tech professionals both naturally tend to focus on the essentials of a tech or business agreement. But it's also essential to ensure that your contracts are well written. Active voice is easier to read, and it more clearly delineates who must do what in an agreement.

To keep your contract language simple, you may need to toss your boilerplate agreements and start over. Having simple, clear contracts drafted with plain language will be good for your business. Contact us to discuss streamlining your agreements.

About the Author

Tom McKeever

Leverage Tom's deep technology law experience and solid business judgment to your unfair advantage.


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