Business Writing Course?

Has anyone ever taken a business writing course?

Personally, I am a decent writer but am absolutely worthless when it comes to editing and teaching my team to be better writers. I could take an editing course to try to learn (and still might) but I feel like a better first step would be to send people to a writing course.

I am not sure any writing courses I took had that much value.

I am an excellent proof reader, I have an eye for detail, decent grammar (better at knowing what’s wrong, than knowing what’s right) and am very anal.

But, I don’t know if you can teach that. Also, most of what I edit, I am intimately aware of the content, so I see the technical errors as well.

I believe people can be taught to be detail oriented, by being shown their errors, but I am still shocked how many people don’t see it regardless. Even things like a consistent font, columns properly aligned, checking a table of contents that it matches the document, defined terms in a treaty or policy are properly capitalized.

Unless the course is specific to your business, I feel experience is the best way to learn. Possibly even have someone in your unit who is particularly good teach a Lunch & Learn type course

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Main point to get across is that your team needs to know their audiences. Just because they don’t see an error, or don’t think it matters, it might matter to the recipient. And that the consequence of an error might have influence in the sender’s future raises or promotions, or continued employment.
Now that the proper motivation is in place, I think their learning will come around.

I can’t say any of my managers were great writers. If anything, most of them seem to be dyslexic, and/or they have executive assistants write shit for them.

I did a technical writing course in university and was forced into a “High Impact Business Writing” course at my first employer… you need tips and tricks?

Also, I wrote a white paper on LDTI recently. The marketing guy called it “brilliant”, but then he gave my male counterpart half the credit. Mixed feeeeelings.

I used to work with a marketing guy who would send all his memos out in excel. So, not so much with the writing skills…
Also, he was nicknamed Flatch. Short for flatulent. Quite a nickname for an HO environment, but that’s marketing for you.

Respond and assume 100% of the credit. DRAG HIM.

I’ve -taught- a business writing course.

Does that count?

Agree with DTNF up until this part - you could be the most grammatically correct person ever and still be a crap writer.

The key to writing a good business email (easiest place to start): know your reader.

Ask yourself these questions before writing your email:

Who is your intended reader? Tailor the level of detail to your audience (generally the more senior, the less detail they want - however - they also want useful information, SUMMARY statistics - they don’t want to analyze your data to make their own conclusions. Tell them your conclusion, spell it out for them like they are five, with simple support statistics that contain the details they need. You’re not trying to prove to them you do good work - you are telling them a fact in order to get some desired response.

What is your objective? If you don’t have any objective other than “look at this rad stuff I did”, don’t send an email. Have an actual objective.

What message are you trying to get across to your reader? Start with that, highlight it - everything else is just supporting information, or ugh, fluff. (Get rid of the fluff on proofread).

Is there any action you want the reader to take? State this, highlight it, put a date on it, follow up on it.

If you were reading this email (as the reader), what kind of follow up questions would you ask? Try to anticipate these questions ahead of time, and include the answers in your email (this is the non-fluff).

Subject lines …are important, don’t mess this part up. Be clear, be succinct. Highlight the objective -and- the actions you require. It’s not rocket appliances.

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To start, don’t reward bad business writing.

I feel like good business writing naturally occurs when management makes career advancement transparent, fair, straightforward, and meritocratic.

Buzzword nonsense and razzmatazz tends to creep in when staff are clueless as to how to get ahead so they start resorting to embellishment. It doesn’t take a genius to know that clear, simple writing is considered good business writing and the only thing a formal course will do is reiterate the previous sentence.

Assistant, please do a thing that will take less time for me to have done it myself than it took for me to tell you to do it.