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Imagine if all your people could write in plain English. Think of the time and money this would save:
- fewer queries and complaints in response to their emails and letters
- clearer reports and quicker decisions
- customers that understood the benefits of dealing with you.
Both of these courses are practical ones that change delegates' attitudes to writing, and can focus on the types of document that are important to you.
It's not just about classroom training
Our training allows delegates to build on and practise what they have learnt during the day. This means delegates remember much more, and have more confidence in applying their new-found skills and knowledge.
With all our courses, and for no extra cost, delegates will:
- on the day – get to practise what they have learnt on some in-house examples, appraising and improving pieces of writing that are directly relevant to their work
- at the end of the day – receive a copy of our booklet 117 easy tips for getting your message across every time you write! This covers the same topics as the course, but presented in a novel, engaging way that reinforces what they have learnt
- afterwards – have access to our online Writing plain English course for six months. This allows delegates to recap what they have learnt and practise their skills using interactive sessions and exercises.
So what do I need to do?
Call 0114 257 1400 and ask for Dave Fox. Or you can email us, or click the icons to the right to find out more about our two most popular courses Writing plain English and Writing for the web.
© The Word Centre
When you consider how much writing most people do at work – and how little of this is checked before it is published or 'sent' – it's remarkable how few people get any training in writing skills. The following article looks at the likely impact this is having on organisations.
Article – Writing clearly: a skill people don't need to learn?
. . . by Dave Fox, Senior Partner at the Word Centre
How much time do your people spend writing? 10% of their time? Or 30%, 50%, or perhaps more than this? Take a moment and write down the answer on a piece of paper. If some of your people have never had any formal writing training, the chances are that the figure you are looking at is the percentage of their job that they are not competent to do.
Is that a scary thought? It ought to be. Or perhaps your immediate reaction is: 'well, everyone can write well enough to get by. Itís just that some people are better at it than others'. Itís true enough that some people are better at writing than others. But everyone can improve their writing skills if they get help from an experienced writer or trainer. And for some people this is essential.
When we run our Writing plain English courses we always ask delegates: 'have you ever had any formal writing training?' Usually, in a group of 12 people, just 1 or 2 will raise their hands. Yet, in that same group, probably at least half the people will spend more than half their time writing to customers, prospective customers and colleagues – and often they will have been doing this for many years.
Suppose instead that those same people spent more than half their time interviewing customers, or creating spreadsheets, or designing web pages, or handling complaints, or doing risk assessments. Would you expect them to be able to do any of these things without training? Of course not. Most people would need some formal training, and probably some on-the-job coaching to follow, before you would expect them to become skilled at any of those activities (or almost any other task you can think of). Yet organisations seem to take it for granted that all their people can write well enough to be allowed to do this day in, day out, without any training at all.
Does it matter?
It will certainly matter to the people who are on the receiving end of your organisationís communications. These days, people expect plain English and get frustrated if they get anything else. How much patience do you have when you get a message that is poorly planned or badly written, is full of jargon, or has grammatical and spelling mistakes? Most people will say that they stop reading messages like this because 'if the writer canít get simple things like this right, how can I trust them to deliver (whatever it is) properly?'. How many potential customers could your staff be losing by the end of the first paragraph of a typical letter or email?
What about your managers? How much time do they spend correcting basic mistakes in their staffís writing, when they should really just be checking that the content is accurate and appropriate? How much time do they spend in meetings disagreeing over the meaning of reports and policy documents, when they should be making decisions about them?
The effects of poor writing may be all around you. They may not be as obvious as the effects of other failings in performance, thatís all. Whatever else your organisation does well, if you communicate badly you could be costing yourself a lot of money and goodwill.
So give your writers a chance. Find out if there is a 'skills gap' between what you expect them to do and what they actually can do. Then give them the help they need to become better writers. If they spend a good proportion of their time writing, they are professional writers. Help them live up to that description.
© The Word Centre