Course Highlights

This online narrative-memo writing workshop will:

  • Outline best practices for creating complete and concise six-page papers.
  • Offer tools to quickly establish a document’s structure and flow.
  • Give concrete advice for reducing the time it takes readers to understand a document.
  • Suggest ideas for reducing wordiness and removing superfluous content.

Program Overview

What is a six-page memo, and how does it work? A six-page memo is a maximum of six pages of carefully crafted text that conveys information in place of a PowerPoint presentation. In the first minutes of a meeting, attendees read the document and note any questions or comments. Following that silent work, the writer opens the floor for discussion. The result: Fewer tangents, fewer opportunities for talkers to take over or dominate, and a greater focus on substance over style.

When memos are the standard, content creators can’t rely on charisma and charm. They must present a cogent argument. The challenge? Without some training, the task of writing can flummox the smartest among us.

This three-part workshop teaches participants a system for writing a tight six-pager. The program lasts six hours and is ideally suited for groups new to the format and those who could benefit from formal instruction.

Note: While we can teach the course in a single day, it works best when delivered over several days.

Segment One Objectives

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

  • Articulate what is important to readers.
  • Explain the difference between what a writer wants to say and what a reader wants to read.
  • Create a purpose statement.
  • Use three distinct tools to identify potential content for a document.
  • Distinguish need-to-know content from nice-to-know information.
  • Organize information logically.

Segment One Modules

  • Say What and So What?: Identifying What Matters to Readers
  • Purpose: Getting Something on Paper
  • Maps, Questions, and Headings: Finding a Framework
  • Wheat and Chaff: Grading Content

Segment Two Objectives

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

  • Explain the characteristics readable sentences share.
  • Write in the active voice.
  • Identify and remove jargon.
  • Make formatting choices that improve a document’s readability.

Segment Two Modules

  • An Easy Read: Creating Substantive Succinct Sentences
  • To Be and Not To Be: Getting Active
  • Goodbye Fluff: Tightening Text
  • Bullets, Numbers, Lists: Making Memos Scannable

Segment Three Objectives

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

  • Create headlines to quickly explain charts, graphs, and other illustrations.
  • Leverage various online tools to proofread a text.
  • Anticipate a reader’s questions.
  • Craft a narrative.

Segment Three Modules

  • Help from a Headline: Highlighting a Message
  • Virtual Assistance: Using Online Tools to Spot Problems
  • Asked and Answered: Anticipating and Preparing for Questions
  • Pen to Paper: Practicing Skills

By the conclusion of this six-hour training program, participants should have a basic command of the tools they need to write a clear and concise six-page memo.