Course Outcomes

 This advanced writing course will:

  • Cover current stylistic preferences that impact workplace writing.
  • Explain the proofreading and editing skills needed to locate and correct mistakes in written documents.
  • Demonstrate the use of the client organization’s preferred style guide or style sheet if one is available.

Course Overview

For anyone whose job responsibilities include frequent writing about complex issues for a variety of readers, the task is never easy. Rules and stylistic preferences regularly change, yet most workplace writers haven’t thought about grammar and usage standards since they were in school. The purpose of this advanced course is to expose experienced writers to information that may contradict some of the hard and fast rules they learned as students.

Unlike many of Business Training Works’ other writing courses, this one relies exclusively on the participants’ documents.  The facilitator will also use the organization’s preferred style guide and style sheet if those resources are available.

This program assumes participants have a working knowledge of written English. It is not a course for those who need a review of English grammar.

Program Objectives

At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Explain the differences between academic and workplace writing.
  • Define the five Cs writers should strive for in their texts.
  • Identify English grammar and usage rules that have changed over time.
  • Cite stylistic problems that compromise clear writing.
  • Demonstrate the value of graphic organizing for constructing or deconstructing a written document.
  • Use a variety of punctuation marks to help readers accurately “hear” the writer’s voice.
  • Apply proofreading skills to correct mistakes.
  • Understand the purpose of an industry-specific style guide and an in-house style sheet.
  • Revise texts in accordance with preferences cited in a style guide or style sheet.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).

Workshop Outline

You’re Not in Kansas Anymore: Workplace Writing Challenges

This workshop begins with an examination of the differences between academic and workplace writing. In addition to such features as template-based tasks and collaborative endeavors, job-related writing demands a keen awareness of purpose and audience. While discussing the distinctions of professional writing, participants will identify their specific challenges for the purpose of finding solutions by this advanced writing course’s conclusion.

Bypass the Poppy Fields: Keep Your Readers Awake

Exceptional writers have the ability to take even the deadliest subject matter and make it clear and interesting to their readers. After a review of the five Cs of good writing, we will examine sample texts that illustrate the meaning of correctness, clarity, conciseness, consistency, and comprehensibility.

Which Wicked Witches Are Dead?: Rules That Have Changed

The English language is fluid and ever changing. So, too, are the rules that govern its correct use. Threats of death (or at least a guaranteed F) that teachers issued if students split infinitives, ended sentences with prepositions, or started them with conjunctions now seem oddly old fashioned or stuffy. At this point, we will review major changes that have occurred in usage for the sake of showing how these changes help writers achieve the five Cs previously discussed.

Lions, Tigers, Bears, and Flying Monkeys: Beastly Writing Habits to Avoid

Pressed for time or short on information, many workplace writers fill their pages with inflated words and phrases, passive-voice constructions, and rambling compound-complex sentences that confuse their readers. Misplaced modifiers and dangling participles might provide some comic relief in otherwise dry texts, but this is rarely the writer’s intention. In this segment of the workshop, we will examine a host of stylistic problems that are easy to catch and eliminate if writers understand the rules.

Into the Woods or Over the Rainbow: Know Where You’re Going

Whether you have to write an incident report, draft a proposal for a new piece of equipment, or request a grant, you should be able to state the point you hope to make in a single sentence. “The driver of the tractor-trailer was negligent.” “We need a new software program.” “I need money.” The reader’s response in each case would be the same: Why?

For those participants who find it difficult to get started, prioritize and arrange their supporting evidence, or know when enough is enough, they will develop graphic organizers to help them overcome such difficulties. Additionally, they will use an existing text from which they will distill key points to determine the document’s structure and substance.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road: The Path to Accurate Punctuation

Following a review of the most frequently used punctuation marks and what they signify to a reader, we will use participants’ documents to determine if such marks have been used accurately. We will also consider punctuation options that effectively serve as appropriate substitutes if they are warranted.

Toto-ly Correct Texts: Proofreading and Editing Like a Pro

Using the participants’ own documents, we will examine essential steps in the revision process. The group will have a chance to engage in both proofreading and editing something they have written as well as something created by an unknown writer. At the end of these exercises, participants will know the kinds of problems most often corrected during proofreading and will recognize that editing requires more subtle and sophisticated skills than fixing misspelled words.

Time to Visit the Wizard: Authority to the Rescue

Before the session ends, participants will have the chance to examine several style guides to understand their importance in helping writers achieve consistency. We will also look at in-house style sheets to see how these differ from guides. If a style sheet exists for the participants’ organization, we will spend the remainder of our time using it as a tool for one last reading and correcting of a text each participant has crafted.

By the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be aware of changes that have occurred in American English usage and style preferences. They will have had the opportunity to review their own and other people’s writing within the contexts of content, style, organization, and mechanics. Additionally, they will have an awareness of the value found in consulting style guides and style sheets before they submit their written work to others. While they may have learned much of the course’s information in the past, participants should come away from the session with an enhanced understanding of what constitutes good workplace writing and how to achieve it.