Here’s a hard truth: even very smart people – those who are expert and accomplished in their respective fields – can struggle to write well.
That’s because writing deficiencies, particularly in business environments, are rarely about knowledgeability or talent. Rather, writing demands a set of specialized skills that most people never formally develop. According to Josh Bernoff’s 2016 State of Business Writing report, only 38% of the business writers surveyed say they got the right writing training in school.
The good news: it’s never too late to get the training needed to develop writing skills. In fact, most businesses have more options than ever to ensure their people develop excellent writing skills. And remember, good writing does more than just read better, it also has practical outcomes that can directly affect an organization’s bottom line. Here are four easy options for organizations to help their teams strengthen and improve their writing.
Onsite workshopsMastering new skills requires both dedicated practice and an expert hand to provide guidance. An onsite workshop can’t be beat for developing writing skills, as workshops empower participants with real strategies, lots of practice, and a high degree of interaction. When selecting a writing workshop, make sure it’s highly targeted to your needs. Not only should the subject matter be specific to your organization, it should also use exercises based on the writing your team does in your workplace, ideally drawing from excerpts of your teams’ own writing.
Online coursesAn onsite workshop is not always logistically possible, of course. Online courses can fill the gap. However, when choosing an eLearning option, scrutinize the courses to ensure they go deep enough into the subject matter to provide real, relevant strategies and introduce practical techniques that your team can use immediately. In addition, modules should build upon one another and furnish participants with exercises and opportunities to get feedback as the class progresses.
Personalized feedback and coachingFeedback is crucial to self-improvement, as identified deficits help your team recognize and correct or improve upon them. Gaining access to accurate, helpful feedback creates a loop that can drive ongoing improvement. As Wired describes it, “Provide people with information about their actions in real time (or something close to it), then give them an opportunity to change those actions, pushing them toward better behaviors. Action, information, reaction.” Personalized feedback and coaching also ensure a high degree of relevancy, since these activities will be based on specific written works rather than generic writing samples.
Writing exercisesPractice makes perfect. Any workshop, seminar, or coaching session should incorporate real-world writing practice. However, even in the absence of formal instruction, businesspeople can hone their focus and improve their writing with smart writing exercises. Writing skills are not wholly different from other critical business skills; business writing is problem-solving and your professionals simply need to learn how to apply their problem-solving skills to the writing process.
About Hurley Write, Inc.
Hurley Write, Inc., a certified women-owned small business (WBENC and WOSB), Historically Underutilized (HUB), and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), has been designing and teaching customized onsite and online technical, business, and scientific writing courses for over 25 years. We also develop and teach specialty courses, such as how to write proposals and standard operating procedures (SOPs) and deviation and investigation reports, and how to prepare and give great presentations.