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Teaching Employees to Write Better

A short focused writing seminar or workshop can make a dramatic difference in the quality of writing at your organization.

When it comes to specialized writing to brand your company or sell your products, you can either try to "write it yourself" or hire an experienced writer or advertising agency to help. But when it comes to day to day writing: letters, memos, presentations, reports, it is good business to make sure that all of your key people have the tools to write better.

Good writing is good business, and poor writing is expensive because it slows you down and results in lower productivity and poor communication. In fact, the National Commission on Writing reported that organizations in the U.S. spend over $3 billion a year to teach employees to write clearly. Poor writing abounds in the public sector too. The Commission's 2005 study found that state governments spend over $220 million annually on writing training.

But you don't need government surveys to convince yourself that better writing means better business. Think about the last overstuffed presentation you sat through. Remember how your eyes bugged out at all the color charts, graphs and lines and lines of verbiage! Be honest. When is the last time that you were actually engaged and excited by a good presentation or inspired by a crystal clear, well written memo?

Good writing can produce enthusiasm. The difference between aimless and cluttered business writing and writing that works is largely a matter of focus and energy. Once your people receive a few key tips and learn a few simple techniques, their writing can improve measurably. This means that your organization's productivity will improve as well.

I enjoy giving writing seminars because whenever I get in front of a class I feel good because I know that I can help my students and I also know that I can do it in a few short hours.

Most of us are conditioned that learning to write involves long years of going to high school or college and sitting in composition classes with little books full of rules sitting next to us.

It doesn't have to be like that. If you can speak the language and can think clearly, you can be a powerful and effective business writer. You just need to learn how.

The seminars or workshops that I teach are customized to the needs of the company that is hiring me. But most of the time my writing seminars consist of the following:

  • Analysis: why isn't your writing working and how to fix it.

  • The single purpose that must always guide your writing

  • Short cuts to purpose-driven writing

  • Connecting with your audience-how to think like a reader

  • Learning the writing process: plan, write, revise, edit

  • Tips on various forms of writing: letter, memos, proposals, business plans

Sometimes students say: "I spent four years in high school, 5 years in college and grad school and my writing is still a problem. How can you possibly make a difference in 4 hours"? It's a fair question but the truth is that I'm not really teaching you to write-you know that already. I'm teaching you how to use your writing to communicate. Unlike your teachers and professors who were concerned with the rules of writing, my purpose is far simpler. I just want to teach you techniques to use the language that you already know to communicate ideas in a way that is clear, short, persuasive and exciting.

If you would like more information about teaching your employees to become better writers please call or write me an email.

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