You’ve heard the old adage “practice makes perfect.” This advice applies to technical , business , and scientific writing , too. Writers who practice a little every day produce a better product. Why? Writing is a process as well as a result. Fine-tuning that process through practice leads to better writing skills and a better end product. But for scientists, engineers, and other professionals for whom writing is simply one more task to be completed, setting aside regular writing time is a challenge. Fortunately, management can help.
Change the culture
Believe it or not, the biggest roadblock to staff writing some every day may be your company’s corporate culture.
Many companies claim that they want the fruits of better writing skills — well-received journal articles , grant awards, winning proposals, effective reports — but then throw these productivity killers at their writers:
Interruptions. Good writing requires concentration. Constant interruptions are like poison to a writer’s pen. Help employees find an uninterrupted block of time and a quiet place to get their work done — and encourage others to respect those boundaries.
Isolation. Much business writing (RFPs, reports, even emails) requires input from multiple writers. Collaboration and feedback are important in these situations. Consider forming a weekly or monthly writing group for teams that need to collaborate.
Unrealistic deadlines. Reviews and revisions are a necessary part of good writing. If writers are on a schedule that doesn’t allow time for these steps, less than stellar results shouldn’t be a surprise.
- Unproductive reviews. Good writers have a clear idea of a document’s audience and purpose. Unfortunately, reviewers, particularly those in a supervisory position, sometimes demand changes that directly conflict. Employees should be empowered to alert reviewers to such issues, and reviewers should be asked to respect writers’ knowledge.
- No room to grow. One of the most important things a businesses can do for its writers is to offer professional development courses to improve company writing skills. Some companies may balk at this idea, thinking that it certainly won’t be within budget. But the options for training are broader and more affordable than ever.
Get help when and how you need it
Hurley Write offers customized onsite writing workshops and online writing classes that can be customized to meet the specific needs of your writers. For example, our SCORM-compliant online training modules can be shared across systems. Employees can mix and match these modules to get the information they need and can take the course as time allows. These company writing online training courses also provide participants with substantive, individualized feedback on their writing.
We also license our courses to companies so that they can be available to employees as needed. And our learning management system allows participants and management to track progress, create skill assessments, print certificates, and much more. Access an online demo of our technical writing course or contact Hurley Write for more information. For access to our online business writing demo, contact us at [email protected] or call toll-free 877-24WRITE (249-7483).