Question? Leave a message!




PROFESSIONAL WRITING SKILLS

PROFESSIONAL WRITING SKILLS 21
Professional Writing Skills Participant Training Manual Comprehensive Public Training Program Revised 5/11/16 PROFESSIONAL WRITING SKILLS COURSE DESCRIPTION In this 1day class, participants will learn to write in a clear, concise style. Through lecture, examples, and practice exercises, participants will gain confidence in their ability to plan and to produce various forms of professional writing. Participants will learn how to identify and to correct their own grammar and usage problems. Strategies to revise and to proofread work will also be presented. JOB/LEARNING OUTCOMES Write clear, concise, and actionoriented communication Adjust language, style, and level of written communication to fit the purpose and audience Maintain a professional and confident tone in written communication Use resources to help identify and correct grammar and usage problems WHAT: Personal Writing Inventory HOW: INDIVIDUALLY 1. Identify items that frustrate you in other people’s written communication. 2. Identify items that you find challenging when writing. SMALL GROUP 3. Discuss your answers. 4. Be prepared to share with the class. 2 10 GUIDELINES FOR PROFESSIONAL WRITING STOP THE FRUSTRATION Many of the writing problems found in the workplace out can be avoided if you follow 10 simple guidelines for professional writing. These are not in order of importance; they are in order of how they generally occur within the writing process. 1 — YOU ARE YOUR WRITING. 2 — YOU HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES. 3 — KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. 4 — THINK IT THROUGH. 5 — EMBRACE COLLABORATION. 6 — WRITE FOR UNDERSTANDING. 7 — CHECK YOUR GRAMMAR. 8 — WATCH YOUR TONE. 9 — CLARITY COUNTS. 10 — CLEAN IT UP. 3 4 WRITING APPREHENSION TEST WHAT: Writing Apprehension Test HOW: INDIVIDUALLY 1. Read each item and put a check mark in the box that describes your attitude. 2. Score your test by adding all of the points in each column and then adding the columns together. Strongly Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Disagree Agree 1 2 3 4 5 I avoid writing. My mind seems to go blank when I start to write. Expressing ideas through writing seems to be a waste of time. I am nervous about writing. I never seem to be able to clearly write down my ideas. I don’t think I write as well as most other people do. I don’t like my writing to be evaluated. I am no good at writing. Total Columns Add Rows for Final Score Adapted from Daly, J. A., Miller, M. D. (2013). Writing Apprehension Test (WAT). Measurement Instrument Database for the Social Science. Retrieved from www.midss.ie YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AS A WRITER You have 3 primary responsibilities as a professional writer; these three responsibilities should be in the forefront of your mind during different stages of the writing process, especially when you are reviewing your work. DEFINE YOUR AUDIENCE 3 PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES Promote Promote Yourself Your Agency Prove the value of your document PROVING THE VALUE 5 KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE Professional business writing is often used to influence someone’s thoughts or ideas. In order to do this, you must adjust your content, language, tone, examples, and organization to meet the needs of your audience. WHAT: Geographical Identity and Language HOW: SMALL GROUP 1. List words, phrases, ideas, etc. that are unique to Louisiana. 2. Be prepared to share with the class. DEFINE YOUR AUDIENCE Identity Needs  Who is the reader  How familiar with the topic is this person  How much interaction do I have with the reader  How does this person feel about the topic  Is the reader expecting this  How much time does the reader  What are the principal concerns and have to devote to this responsibilities of the reader  What are my reader’s  Is this issue important to him/her communication characteristics 6 7 THINK IT THROUGH As a professional writer, the most reckless thing you can do is write based on emotions, rather than purpose. Learning to check your emotions and write with your purpose in mind is another step towards becoming an effective writer. It is also important to take some time to think about what you need to write, why you need to write it, and how you are going to write it. Ask: What am I feeling Ask: What do I want to Ask: accomplish What may happen Do: Ask: if I send this Check your Do: How should I write emotions. Determine your this purpose. Do: Do: Be willing to Create a plan for accept the worst your writing. case scenario. COLLABORATIVE WRITING ACTIVITY Writing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) is a common type of technical writing in the workplace. For an SOP to be effective, it must be written so anyone, regardless of experience, can follow it. This means it must be very clear, as well as concise yet detailed. WHAT: SOP Collaboration HOW: SMALL GROUP As a group, write clear and concise directions for how to assemble your item (approx. 30 minutes). 8 COLLABORATIVE WRITING ACTIVITY— CONTINUED 9 WATCH YOUR TONE Revising for Tone Tone is the emotion embedded in your words. It conveys your attitude toward the reader and the topic. In writing, tone is conveyed primarily through word choice. Be mindful of your word choice. The words you choose show your level of professionalism and confidence. MAINTAINING A PROFESSIONAL TONE SLANG COLLOQUIALISMS CLICHÉS (everyday expressions)  Y’all  Bull or BS  Kind of /  Hit a road  Do more with less  You  Cheesy Sort of block  Break down the silos. know  Luck out  A lot of  Slip away  Throw him under the bus.  OK or  Cool  A couple  A big deal  It is what it is. okay  Guesstimate  A little bit  Wrapping  Take it to the next level.  My bad  Flaky  Throws me up  Bite the bullet.  Awesome  Goofy off  Guess what  Run it up the flagpole.  Hang out  Lame  Not really  Way more  Think outside the box.  Chill out  Grubby all that bad  Look out for  If push comes to shove…  Geek  Grungy  Fall through  Pass up  To be honest…  Epic fail  Doover the cracks  Threw me  With all due respect…  Dunno  Mickey  Beat for a loop  Touch base…  Gonna mouse around the  Spot on  In the pipeline…  Wanna  Folks bush  Slip away  Raise the bar…  Rip off  Sucks  No clue  Fixing to  Get our ducks in a row…  Neat  Nuts  Fly through  In a jam  Wrap our heads around…  Stupid  Crazy  Make  Pumped up  It’s a winwin.  Wow  No way waves  Way too  Step up to the plate... MAINTAINING A CONFIDENT TONE EXPRESSIONS SHOWING DOUBT ABSOLUTES  I believe  All  Must  I think  Always  Never  I guess  Every  Nobody  Maybe  Everybody  No one  In my opinion  Everyone  None  Could be  Forever  Only 10 CLARITY COUNTS Revising for Clarity and Conciseness Message clarity is determined, in part, by the conciseness of the writer’s message. Writers often “overwrite” or elevate their prose in an attempt to sound professional. This highly formal style can actually reduce understanding. Say what you need to say without adding unnecessary words. REMOVE REDUNDANCIES COMMON REDUNDANCIES  Absolutely certain  Fall down  Past experience  Actual fact  Fellow coworker  Pick and choose  Add an additional  Final outcome  PIN number  Added bonus  First of all  Plan ahead  Advance forward  Foreign imports  Possibly might  Advance reservations  Free gift  Postpone until later  Advance warning  Future plans  Proceed ahead  Alternative choice  Joint collaboration  Reason why  And etc.  Largest ever  Refer back  Anonymous stranger  LCD display  Repeat again  Ask the question  Local residents  Revert back  At the present time  Major breakthrough  Rise up  Basic essentials  May possibly  Safe haven  Filled to capacity  Meet together  Same exact  Circulate around  Merge together  Same identical  Collaborate together  Mix together  Serious danger  Completely finished  Mutual cooperation  Spell out in detail  Definite decision  Mutually dependent  Still remains  Depreciate in value  Native habitat  Therapeutic treatment  Difficult dilemma  Natural instinct  Tiny bit  Direct confrontation  Never before  Total destruction  Each and every  New beginning  True facts  Eliminate altogether  New invention  Ultimate goal  End result  New recruit  Unexpected surprise  Enter in  None at all  Usual custom  Estimated roughly  Off of  Warn in advance  Exact same  Old adage  Written down CUT QUALIFIERS Remove qualifiers such as:  Very  Little  Somewhat  Pretty  Just  Rather 11 CLARITY COUNTS — CONTINUED REPLACING OVERWRITTEN PHRASES WITH BASIC WORDS REPLACE WITH  Due to the fact that  Since  Owing to the fact that  Because  On the grounds that  Why  This is why  The reason for  Being that  Despite the fact that  Although  Regardless of the fact that  Even  Notwithstanding the fact that  Though  In the event that  If  If it should transpire  Under the circumstances which  Has the opportunity to  Can  Is able to  Is in a position to  Has the capacity for  Has the ability to  In reference to  About  In regards to  Concerning the matter of  Where is concerned  It is crucial that  Must  It is necessary that  Should  It is important that  Cannot be avoided  Prior to  Before  In anticipation of  After  Subsequent to  As  At the same time as 12 GROUP ACTIVITY Revising for Clarity and Conciseness Directions: As a group, revise each statement for clarity and conciseness. WORDY VERSION CONCISE VERSION The website has made available many of the things you need to know in order to make a decision about what car to buy. Working under Joe as a mentor who helped me develop skills was a very effective working situation. At this time, we find ourselves advancing upward along the proverbial tributary without the proper means of locomotion. If you find yourself avoiding utilization of a specific skills set, you are in distinct danger of the possibility of finding that skill atrophied beyond the possibility of future usage. After booking a ticket to Baton Rouge, I packed up my bags and arranged for transportation by taxi to the airport. Once there, I checked in, went through security, and boarded the plane. But problems beyond my control led to a threehour delay before the flight took off. Our department has five employees. They do an excellent job Monday through Thursday, but Fridays are a heavier workload and they are unable to keep up with the rush of activity on that day and thus find themselves falling behind. It is imperative that we make a decision on this issue immediately. During the time of year from January 1 to March 31, a majority of the people who bought cars decided on buying blue cars that had a shiny appearance. 13 FINAL ASSESSMENT Individual Activity what: Instructor and Course Evaluation How: Applying the guidelines covered in today’s class, write an evaluation of the instructor and the course. NAME: P: AGENCY: EMAIL: DATE: LOCATION: 14 FINAL ASSESSMENT—PAGE 2 NAME: P: AGENCY: 15