Course outcomes and content

Outcomes – new skills can be applied immediately

The skills learnt can be applied to all types of text including emails, letters, briefing notes, reports, policies, websites, proposals, fact sheets, procedures, blogs & chats, marketing materials, consultation documents – in fact, anything expressed in words.

Writing clearly, succinctly and persuasively is an important part of the work of nearly every public servant, manager or supervisor. The written word is the main way ideas are passed around and through your organisation.

This course helps participants to develop skills that will help them write a range of documents that are more effective and more efficient.

More effective – documents more easily read, understood and more likely acted on by the audience.

More efficient – documents written and read in less time. Less back and forth between authors and reviewers.

Participants will:

  • discover the importance of having a user centred mindset
  • be able to construct persuasive text around purpose and key message
  • learn to organise content in a ‘point first’ structure
  • implement the principles of writing in plain language
  • understand the components of persuasive communication and be able to include these appropriately.

Directly addresses NSW Public Sector Capability Elements

  • Utilises written communication effectively (all 6 levels).
  • Demonstrates service orientation.
  • Understands customer needs.
  • Undertakes analysis.

Directly address APS Integrated Leadership System components

  • Communicates messages clearly, concisely and with precision.
  • Seeks to understand the audience and tailors communication style and
    message accordingly.
  • Translates information for others by focusing on key points.
  • Uses appropriate, unambiguous language and explains implications.
  • Structures written communication to ensure clarity and brevity.
  • States the facts and uses straightforward language.

Three content options

We can deliver this one-day course based on

  1. Generic content from Writing well at work
  2. Content from Writing well at work, but including examples directly related to your organisation and the type of documents your people deal with
  3. Content developed to meet the specific needs of your people.

We can also provide on-on-one coaching for individuals.

An on-line version of Writing well at work is also available.

Generic Writing well at work content

  • What makes documents ‘better’.
    Functional documents must achieve purpose
  • The importance, act and role of writing.
    How writing is connected to the thinking process.
  • Defining purpose.
    A clear purpose is essential for good writing. It also provides the basis for evaluation.
  • Understanding your audience.
    Having the needs of your reader (user) in mind. The entire course is presented from a ‘user first’ perspective.
  • Defining the key message.
    What is the single most important idea to convey.
  • Developing content.
    Discovering the content required to meet users needs; and what can be left out.
  • Organising and structuring.
    What is the best way to organise the content? Organising for different purposes.
  • Chunking information.
    Paragraphing and summarising.
  • Headings and how to use them.
    Using talking headings rather than bucket headings to aid scanability.
  • Importance of plain language.
    How plain language improves document performance.
  • Word choice.
    Preferring simpler, shorter words over more complex alternatives.
  • Using the active voice.
    Writing more directly and improving the clarity of sentences.
  • Verbs not nouns.
    Using a style to make content accessible and less bureaucratic.
  • Trimming the word count.
    Finding and destroying the flab in writing.
  • Sentence structure.
    Keeping sentences simple but interesting.
  • Getting people to read your work
    Injecting some passion into your writing.
  • Reviewing documents.
    Adding value to other peoples’ work.
  • Testing.
    Discovering what to improve in a document.
  • Putting it all together