Better business writing

 

Overview

This one-day workshop-style training event covers all aspects of preparing, writing, proofing, editing and producing high-quality letters and emails. Key features include:
  1. Pre-course ‘red-pen’ review by trainer on participants documents sent before the course
  2. Participants work on their own real-life documents; objectively editing and proofreading working in pairs
  3. Detailed course manual and materials, including:
    • business writing reference guide
    • learning exercises to practice composing, editing and proofreading skills on emails, reports, letters and all other business documents
    • email etiquette and best practice guide
  4. Expert trainer who is an experienced and published author, with a solid background in business, customer service and business training.

Training objectives

This workshop will help participants:
  • Use the seven elements of an impressive, inspiring and professional piece of written communication, regardless of length or type
  • Write any document in a way that radiates competence and courtesy and saves them and the reader time
  • Learn how to quickly write different types of common letters and emails
  • Identify the aim of a letter or email and structure accordingly and quickly
  • Use more effective openings and endings – starting off right and ending correctly – for both emails and letters
  • Know what their reader needs, wants, likes or expects from an email and letter reply – and then deliver!
  • Get the balance right between formal and informal – whether for internal or external emails and letters
  • Eliminate jargon, management-speak, clichés and non-sense. How to keep it short and simple without losing impact or appearing blunt or rude
  • Understand email etiquette – the ten do’s and don’ts of email sending
  • Learn how to use the right style and tone when delivering bad news, apologising or resetting expectations
  • Know how to structure a complex message where a response is required
  • Learn editing techniques and skills practice to get their documents right first time
  • Understand proofing reading techniques and skills practice
  • Develop skills in formatting and layout – using your software to best effect

Audience

This workshop is suitable for everyone, at any level in an organisation, whose job demands better written communication.

Format

An interactive one-day programme, the workshop includes many practical exercises, spaced regularly throughout the day, with participants working on a selection of their own and their colleagues’ documents.

Special features

The sessions will include practice in applying particular skills, exercises in critical analysis, group and tutor review. Participants are asked to send to the trainer before the course, and bring with them on the day, a selection of recent business documents. This is essential, as they will be needed for assignments during the workshop review sessions that are run regularly during the course. In this way, no matter what type of documents a participant produces, the workshop will be relevant and the participant will gain specific instruction and feedback.

The expert trainer

Graham is an experienced trainer, business consultant and author. He has written and published more than a dozen books on business and training and is a regular contributor to journals and many websites.

Course outline

1   Objectives, planning, type and structure
  • Better understanding the different types of letters and emails and how to categorise in terms of response
  • Benefits and importance of clear, concise, considered and correct business writing  - for customer satisfaction and long-term business benefits
  • The impact and effect of getting it right and wrong – with real-life examples
  • How to analyse and summarise the senders points – reading between the lines
  • Openings and endings – starting off right and ending correctly – for both emails and letters
  • Expressing your points clearly and clarifying your aim and objectives
  • Group activity: What does an impressive and effective letter or email look like?
2   Letter writing and good business English
  • Getting the message across right first
  • How to use the right style and tone when delivering bad news
  • How to structure a complex message where a response is required
  • How to structure to points and paragraphs
  • Starting off, introductions, conclusions and summaries
  • Introduction to editing and proof-reading
  • Group activity: Quick analysis of current documents and letter or email examples for quality of content
3   Editing skills and proofreading techniques
  • The difference between proof-reading and editing
  • Proofing reading techniques and skills practice
  • Editing techniques and skills practice to get your documents right first time
  • Eliminating jargon, management-speak, clichés and non-sense
  • The grammar and English standards of the Plain English campaign
  • Proof-reading methods and strategies
  • Knowing what to look for – quick check-list
  • Exercise: Case studies and practice
4   Email etiquette and email best practice
  • Email etiquette – the ten do’s and don’ts of email sending
  • Email links, attachments and security
  • Rules and standards for better emails
  • When to use the telephone or face to face conversations instead of an email
  • Exercise: Case studies and practice
5   Personal practice session
  • One-to-one consultation with colleagues and the course trainer
  • Participants work to re-write a draft letter or email using the key principles from the day
  • When and how to edit or re-write your email or letters
  • Standard best-practice responses to common emails
6   Formatting, design and production
  • Formatting and layout – using your software to best effect
  • Tips and tricks using Word and Outlook
  • Review of documents
  • Exercise: Case studies and practice
7   Application: Learning summary
  • Participants work individually to summarise their personal learning points and action plan to take away
  • Individual presentations
 

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