Attending this one-day course on High-impact business writing was a wonderful opportunity to take a step back and think about the way in which different styles of writing can have such a significant impact on the reader. The course was attended by people from a range of jobs, each bringing their own experience and anecdotes to share along the way, so it was fun as well as educational.
The topics covered included tips for clear writing, writing email, building a persuasive argument, improving readability, and structuring long documents. At the end of the day you walk away with a book entitled ‘The Write Stuff: Sevens Steps to Writing Excellence”, which is a useful memory jogger. It also contains handy hints such as not writing an email recipient’s name until you have finished drafting the message and have added any attachments. Similarly, if you are replying to an email, delete the recipient’s address before you start to write your reply. That way, only the final version of the message gets sent, and you avoid those tricky situations of sending your reply to too many people! 🙂
The key take-outs I jotted down are:
– Think before you write (could save on hours spent editing)
– Think of your readers (who they are, what they want to take out from what you have written etc)
– Get the key messages up top (especially if what you are writing may be read on a mobile device)
– Use clear signposts (that way scan readers can hop to the bits they really want to read)
A lot of it is common sense, and many recommendations are things that you may well do without a second thought – but actually giving it a second thought could make our writing so much better, and our readers’ jobs so much easier.