Perhaps you’ve tried to teach someone a multi-step process by using a multi-step process of your own: describing the steps over and over, coaching, and trying to help the person get it right. Your frustration built as the person repeatedly flubbed the task. You began to wonder, I imagine, if they could ever do it.
Then, one day, you altered how you delivered your message and were stunned to see the outcome: your learner nailed it!
That’s the pathway out of frustration over your team’s business writing. You’ve probably tried correcting individual errors, then describing the overall impact you want the document to have, then asking the writer to change the opening—all with frustration growing inside you like a zucchini in July. You begin to lose hope as action requests are ignored, deadlines get missed, vital emails go unanswered, and clients grow irritated.
Yes, your team’s writing can improve. Change how you ask them to improve and watch them write their way to clarity and powerful communication. The tested and proven approach is teaching them reader-centered writing in a blended learning workshop that combines traditional classroom training with online learning.
What is reader-centered writing?
Most of us begin writing with the wrong question: “What do I want to say?” In a program focused on reader-centered writing, your team will learn to begin with a better question: “What do my readers need to know to be able to do what I want them to?”
Did you see about five ugly pounds of excess, directionless wordiness slough off that planned correspondence immediately? So did I.
Writers then learn to complete the document focusing on the reader’s needs, not on the writer’s headful of data. The results can transform their business relationships.
How does a reader-centered document begin?
Think about an email you need to write. What outcome do you want? Decide what action you want to drive and how taking that action will benefit your readers. Write both of those ideas into one clear, compelling sentence. Yes, now.
Not simple, is it? But until you have that sentence on paper, keep those fingers off the keyboard! You will waste your own time and your readers’ if you launch without crafting this message.
Okay, you have it? Read it as if you were your own reader. How much more do you need to say? In many cases, you may be done. Congratulations!
Practice writing every document with a reader-centered focus
This is the lasting change you have been yearning for all along. Your team members learn from your example. Investing a few extra minutes at the start of your writing process will not only get you the outcome you’re looking for (and faster!), it will show that you’re present as a leader and will also start a trickle-down effect. Team members who see the magic that reader-centered writing can work will use it all the time, cutting their own writing time and everyone else’s reading time.
Yes, you can stop putting Band-Aids on your team’s writing problems. In one writing program , your team will learn to make their written communications drive action, connecting them more strongly to customers.
You may now exit the hamster wheel of frustration. There is a better way: reader-centered business writing. Contact us today to learn more.