Business Writing That Works

Course Length: 6hrs (1 day)

Good writing uses the right words to express our thoughts to someone else. It is a skill that can constantly be polished and refined. Good writing does not just happen by chance; it is something that is learned, practiced, and executed. Poor writing costs time, money, frustration, and possibly your reputation!

In business writing, the language is concise, the point of view is clear, and the points are well expressed. Good writing is work, and even the best writers get discouraged. However, with practice you can feel more confident about your own writing. This workshop will give participants the tools to become better writers and better communicators.

Specific learning objectives include:
- The value of good written communication.
- The importance of writing and proofreading your work so it is clear, concise, complete, correct, and courteous.
- The "how" of writing effective and efficient emails, incorporating a variety of strategies and knowledge.
- The dos and don'ts of email writing.

Target Student
Everybody in the workplace who needs to communicate with colleagues or clients will benefit from this course. If you want to write a more impressive resume, or if you want to gain a significant edge for advancement purposes, then this course is for you. Good writing is an extremely valuable skill, and everybody in a business environment can benefit from the lessons covered in this course.

Why Write?
Many people feel that writing is a burden or something they should be able to delegate. This session will help participants identify the value of writing. It will also include the top challenges organizations face with regards to the writing of their employees and participants will have an opportunity to discuss their personal writing challenges.

The First Four C's of Writing
Participants will discuss the first four C's of writing: clear, concise, complete, and correct. This session includes the why and the how of the individual components of good writing. Participants will practice each C through writing exercises to confirm understanding.

Word Agreement
During this session, participants will explore word agreement through a brief lecture and a writing exercise. This discussion includes pronouns, antecedents and modifiers and their role in good writing.

Active and Passive Voice
Most people prefer to read writing that is in the active voice. We will discuss and practice both voices during this session.

Sentences and Sentence Types
This session will discuss the structure of sentences and paragraphs and the importance of varied use with good writing.

Manners and Courtesy
The fifth C, courtesy, is an important principle of good business writing and will be discussed in this session.

Practical Language 
It is important to use words that best reflect what you are trying to say. In this session, we will examine some common dilemmas, such as fewer versus less, that versus which, than versus then, and suggested solutions.

Sentence Construction
The two basic rules for constructing sentences are: use construction that makes the meaning clear and keep the construction parallel. Participants will learn the concepts and practice the theory by rewriting sentences that do not follow these rules.

Punctuation
After discussing all the punctuation rules, participants will work in pairs to develop a series of test questions for other participants. There are some key points that can be used to debrief the test. Capitalization rules will also be included in this section.

Writing Effective Emails
This session will explain why there is a lot of miscommunication when using email as one's primary form of communication. Although email is convenient and fast, participants need to recognize tips, tricks, and strategies to ease the frustration of the reader and allow the writer to get their message across more efficiently. 

When to Send an Email?
Participants will learn the dos and don'ts of when you should send an email and how planning is an important step in the evolution of an efficient, productive email.

Audience Needs
Being able to assess your reader's needs before drafting an email is a crucial step in sending an efficient and productive email. These strategies include how best to use the subject line, which acronyms to use to speed up inbox recognition, and how to avoid thread jacking.

Reader versus Writer Focused
Emails are either reader or writer focused. Which one allows you, the writer, the best bang for your buck? This session is followed up with practical exercises to confirm the learning of the theory.

Formatting
Participants discuss the pros and cons of various email formatting, including white space, lists, and parallel structure.

Trigger versus Positive Wording
This session deals with what triggers us as readers and how we can ensure that we default to positive wording when writing emails. Emotional responses to emails are also discussed in this section. Exercises are used to confirm understanding. 

The Last Few Tips
Correct use of the "To" and "CC" fields along with email signatures, salutations, and closings are discussed to end out the topic of email writing. Final email rules and dos and don'ts are also included in this section. 

Spelling and Proofreading
Nothing spoils good writing more than a careless spelling or proofing error. Being careless can spoil a writer's best efforts. This session will help participants identify strategies to use in an everyday setting.

Workshop Wrap-Up
At the end of the workshop, students will have an opportunity to ask questions and fill out an action plan.