When Bob Isakson, a hydrologist, sits down to write, the pressure is on. The organization that he works for makes water-use decisions that affect tens of millions of people in the United States.
Isakson explains, "I have to be very careful to write with tremendous clarity and precision. My work must continually pass the acid test of accuracy and legal correctness."
To gain the necessary writing skills, Isakson turned to Hurley Write.
Making the complex understandable
As a hydrologist, Isakson's work involves writing high-level correspondence as well as producing policies and reports. Much of this documentation communicates complex scientific data to the general public.
Isakson must write in a way that best suits his audience, which often consists of non-scientific government, corporate, or nonprofit entities as well as individuals from a variety of cultural and educational backgrounds. This challenge means avoiding wordiness and unnecessarily complex terms. Fortunately, he's learned how to do so — and even how to enjoy it!
Fun and engaging
Bob's first introduction to Hurley Write happened when his agency hired Pam Hurley, founder of Hurley Write, to teach a day-long seminar.
Isakson says, "Pam is fun and engaging. I spent the day listening to someone who clearly knew what she was talking about and could communicate it with ease. Because she tailored her class to our needs rather than reading a script, she helped me understand why I was doing what I was doing, and she helped me think about planning [my] document."
Since then, Isakson has taken three Hurley Write business, scientific, and technical writing classes, including the online Writing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). This four-week course gives scientific and technical experts practical techniques for writing, testing, and troubleshooting high-quality, user-friendly SOPs. Isakson credits the training for teaching him some valuable skills:
- How to plan the creation of effective documents
- How to write documents that are "reasonably easy to read" — regardless of the expertise of the audience
- How to write with confidence
Saving time and effort
Isakson says that he uses his newfound writing skills daily, adding that he appreciates the encouragement he's received from Hurley Write, and Pam in particular. He sees the difference that his training has made in the documents he produces. His writing now is "more cogent, concise, and professional," Isakson says.
As a result, he's gained time and become a more valuable employee.
Now, Isakson says, "I help others in their writing projects. And I haven't had anything sent back to me because it wasn't written well."