Course Overview

Every academic discipline and profession has an authoritative style guide designed to promote consistency in written documents. As beneficial as such sources may be, they require orientation and practice to truly serve their purpose.

“Consistency Counts”: Conforming to GPO Style Manual Standards is a comprehensive course focused on helping writers understand and use the 460 pages of particulars set forth in the GPO Style Manual. Following a brief review of the four components found in any piece of writing (Content, Style, Organization, and Mechanics), the course emphasizes matters of style and mechanical options available to those who must craft documents in accordance with GPO Style Manual preferences.

Additionally, the instructor will allow ample time to discuss such stylistic considerations as writing in the active rather than passive voice—a preference that promotes both clarity and conciseness in professional writing.

Although the text provided for the course is the GPO Style Manual, many of the documents used in the classroom will come from the participants themselves.

Program Objectives

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

  • Explain the value of a style guide and the Plain Writing Act.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the four components of writing.
  • Write in the active voice.
  • Increase the readability of their texts.
  • Apply the standards set forth in the GPO Style Manual to their writing.

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 

Know Why It Matters: Recognizing the Importance of Consistency

Since 1894, the GPO Style Manual has served as a guide to the style and form of Federal Government printing, and it’s not going away any time soon.  In this opening discussion, participants will review the importance of the Plain Writing Act and the value of the GPO Style Manual as these resources relate to the documents they produce in the workplace.

Start with Good Material: Begin with a Quality Document

Content, Style, Organization, and Mechanics are the ingredients in any written document.  In this unit, the instructor will review each of these components and share tips and techniques for drastically improving written communication.

Get to the Point: Clarity, Brevity, Active Voice

Nothing makes a piece of writing wordier and longer to read than excessive use of the passive voice.  In this workshop segment, participants will learn how to identify the passive voice and what they can do to eliminate it from their writing. Using writing samples, they will also practice removing unneeded words and phrases, consolidating redundant sentences, and revising others that contain jargon.

Eliminate Problems: Removing Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling Mistakes

This component focuses on grammatical and spelling accuracy. With the knowledge that clarity and conciseness are earmarks of exceptional writing, participants will review such problematic issues as sentence construction, subject-verb agreement, capitalization, and frequently misspelled words.

Practice the Rule: Applying GPO Style Preferences

During this focal portion of the course, participants will review and apply GPO Style Manual standards of usage, capitalization, abbreviation, formatting, and reference citation to their own documents.

By the conclusion of the program, attendees should have a clear understanding of how to use the GPO Style Manual as they prepare texts they must produce as part of their work responsibilities.