writing with reader consideration while being precise and concise

Business writing course

Business Writing

We might not all see ourselves as ‘business writers’ but this business writing course is relevant for EVERYONE who writes in a work environment. Whether it be emails, reports, policies or instructions; any form of writing at work is regarded as business writing. And writing for business needs to be approached with a lot more care than what we may write for our personal purposes.

Participants at all levels within the organisation who attend this professional writing training course will learn strategies to write clearly and professionally.  

They will use practical exercises to plan and structure business communications, so that the documents suit the purpose and convey the correct level of detail in the right way.
  • Anyone who writes for work.
  • Full day course. Half-day option available.
  • Run at your offices or in a virtual classroom

Training goals are to:

  • use the POWER writing approach
  • learn to plan and organise the piece of writing
  • plan and write purposefully
  • write clearly and concisely
  • improve spelling, grammar, punctuation
  • respect the reader – manage expectations and tone
  • use a variety of essential formatting techniques
  • understand the importance of self-review and proofreading.

Our facilitator will adapt the content and workshop style of this business writing course to the needs and writing skill level of the group.

Introduction and workshop overview

Participants will review the agenda and will discuss their training objectives. Participants will get  an introduction to the POWER writing approach.

Planning

Most unclear writing results from unclear thinking. Good planning is essential to thinking and communicating persuasively. Participants will learn how to first consider who their readers are, why that reader group matters for their writing and what they want to achieve with their writing.

WIIFT  – what’s in it for them?

The writer gains influence by considering how their readers view the message. What are the reader’s views and interests? By considering the reader’s perspective of ‘what’s in it for me?’ the group will be able to structure their writing to effectively persuade their audience.

Mind mapping

How often do we wonder how to start a piece of writing and have trouble putting a logical structure to it? In this business writing training course the group will use mind mapping to arrange and organise ideas. Participants will practise using the technique to structure a piece of writing and save a huge amount of writing and revision time later. 

SWYP

Participants will find out exactly what this mysterious acronym stands for, but it is essential for writing with impact and for efficient and clear communication. As part of this learning experience, the group will rewrite work to practise the SWYP technique. Participants will experience how their writing becomes more immediate and powerful.

Writing techniques

We all know how to write, right? In this large segment of our business writing course, participants will practise many writing techniques that make business documents more powerful. They will learn and practise techniques such as controlling sentence and paragraph length, using the active voice, and reduce wordiness of their writing. As a result, participants will be able to produce crisp and logical business writing.

Finishing touches

Consistent, clear formatting and careful proofreading are essential aspects of a well written business document or email. Even if we are in a hurry, our time is well spent on arranging the document so that it is easily readable and coherent throughout.

Ooops!

The group will discuss aspects of managing risk with business communications, whether it be meticulous proofreading, undergoing a review process, handling confidential information and, of course, helping to ensure that emails are not sent to incorrect recipients (yes, we’ve all been there).

We will also review the most common grammar and spelling mistakes and learn to avoid them.

Action plans

Applying what has been discussed in this business writing skills course is critical. Throughout this training participants will create personal action plans to put what they have learnt into action for using the skills they have gathered.

Why is emotional intelligence important to business writing training?

Business writing is communication and involves a sender of a message and one or more message receivers. The writer needs to have a good understanding of the reader. Who is it, what is their perspective, what is their level of understanding and knowledge and how do we reach them best to achieve our objectives? This understanding requires empathy, which is an important EQ skill.

In this business writing training course, we build the skills to empathise with the reader. At the same time, participants in this course will look at becoming aware of their emotional state when writing and how this can influence their writing style and message. Participants in this writing workshop will also learn to control writing impulses and think before they press ‘send’.

In addition, when we communicate with others through writing we connect. This can be through email or ticketing systems or other messaging documents. When we connect, we have an opportunity to build a positive relationship. This business writing course will help participants build relationships through their writing.

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing”

-Benjamin Franklin

Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) - the capability of individuals to recognise and manage their emotions and those of others.

Being aware of the concept of EQ and then developing it is essential for employees, regardless of their role. High EQ is no longer an add-on but a ‘must-have.’

Getting it right

In the workplace we need to write clearly and effectively, whether we are communicating with clients, colleagues or within our wider organisation. As well as delivering a message, our writing is a reflection of us. In other words, bad writing makes us look bad.

Here are four pointers on what to keep in mind when writing in the workplace:

1. Plan before you ‘pen’

Look before you leap is a handy metaphor for planning your piece of writing before you launch into it. If you do not have much time, some time spent planning will be worth it and help to make sure that you are clear within yourself what your message is and how you want to deliver it. Clearly establishing who your audience is and addressing what makes them tick or what ‘drives’ them will make your writing more persuasive and it is more likely to succeed in getting the response you are after.

2. TL; DR

We are all busy. Keep it short. Writing concisely and to the point is an essential requirement for business writing. You do not want your readers opening your email or memo to cite TL;DR (too long, didn’t read)! Be ruthless in your editing and make your writing as ‘lean’ as possible.

Make sure the purpose of your communication and any action you want from your reader is at the very start. This will mean that a quick scan of your document allows the reader to make a decision on the urgency and importance of the communication. If the reader has to dig through the text to understand what is being conveyed, you will be putting them off-side before you have even asked them what you need to ask! If you need to include lengthy text then structure the writing so they can refer to the detail easily through numbered or sub-titled sections, as an appendix or attachment.

3. The three ‘r’s: read, revise, review

Reviewing your work before you submit it, or send it is crucial. Ideally take a break from the piece of writing and come back to it a few hours or a day later to read with fresher eyes. If possible, ask someone else to read it for you and check with them whether your purpose is clear and if you have made any assumptions that need to be clarified.

Use all the tools we have handy such as spelling and grammar checks, thesaurus and formatting options to assist you to make sure that your masterpiece doesn’t get let down by some unfortunate typos and is formatted clearly.

4. Buzzword caution

Sometimes you read a piece of writing or hear someone who makes you want to roll your eyes at the use of buzzwords or phrases which don’t really add any value or meaning (leverage, disruptive, value-add, deep dive…). This kind of writing can be more off-putting than impressive so don’t make this mistake and use buzzwords with caution. Of course, this will depend to some degree on your audience, but be sensitive to whether they will understand, or whether explaining things in plain English may be more effective.

Which of these tips are relevant to the kinds of writing you frequently do? And as a recipient of business communications, which of these strategies would you appreciate seeing more of?  Ernest Hemingway, American journalist and novelist once wrote of writers: ‘we are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master,’ meaning that there is always room for improvement when it comes to writing. If you’d like to add to your skills, have a look at our business writing or email writing training course options and call us on 1300 186 442 to discuss.