One of my clients, Exec-Comm, a business communication skills consulting firm, recently hosted its Action Writing public program and invited me to join as a participant. The program is designed to help business people write better to achieve action from readers.
As someone who has worked in PR for the past five years, I consider myself a good writer, but was excited to learn how my client trains its students. However, by the end of the course, I was shocked at how much I had learned to help simplify my writing.
The course was set up in a small conference room with a beautiful view of the city. There were about eight of us gathered around the table in a variety of ages and industries, from a branding agency, to a nonprofit to a personal trainer. We were given spiral-bound workbooks and marked up copies of our writing samples that we had sent in prior to the course.
Throughout the one-day course, we learned to eliminate zero words (unnecessary words) and weak verbs (have, to be, are), use up-front actors (he, they, we), use two “yous” for every “I” and how best to write an email to inspire action, as well as many other tips. Each time we learned a new set of skills, we applied that to our writing samples and could see our writing improve right away.
Exec-Comm Consultant, Doug MacKay, was the instructor and he shared this quote by Mark Twain “I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
This definitely rang true throughout the course. I enjoyed the time I spent improving my writing skills at Exec-Comm and encourage everyone to at least research what little ways you can improve you writing each day.
Do you have simple writing tips of your own that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below.