This Toolkit is for everyone who needs to meet important deadlines and keep projects on target, including professionals and leaders such as lawyers, engineers, analysts, managers and leaders.
Writing to Get Things Done
Course Delivery: On Demand
Writing to Get Things Done
Writing to Get Things Done® Toolkit will improve productivity by teaching how to use writing as a powerful tool for getting things done. Students will improve their on-the-job business writing skills—writing clear, easy-to-read emails, letters, memorandums, meeting minutes, procedures, trip reports, and technical reports.
In partnership with the BERRY Writing Group, the experts on business writing, we are pleased to offer The Writing to Get Things Done® (WGTD) Toolkit which combines the business writing expertise from the BERRY Writing Group with proven video-based instructional design.
The WGTD® Toolkit helps learners know how to:
- Clarify thoughts before writing.
- Separate the readers’ needs from the writer’s needs.
- Use the inverted-pyramid principle of organization.
- Use a listing paragraph format to highlight key ideas.
- Use the language of getting things done vs. business speak.
- Develop a professional tone that encourages cooperation.
- Use our three models of organization for all business writing/emails.
- Write technical information to non-technical people.
The following courses make up the Writing to Get Things Done e-learning Toolkit
Effective business writing is essential to our success at work. No matter what role we play, when we communicate effectively in emails, reports, proposals, or documents, we are more successful and more productive at work. When we write confusing or unclear communications, it seems others don’t know what to do and important information gets lost. Effective business writing is about getting things done. When we compose emails or documents that clearly state what must happen, when it must happen, and why it must happen, we create an opportunity for everyone to be more effective and productive at work. Writing to get things done is not hard, anyone can do it, all we need to know are the essential components for written communication at work.
By completing this course, you will know and use the three components of effective business communication.
There is a huge contrast between what we need as a reader and what we need as a writer. For example, business readers want the bottom line up front followed by the explanation, whereas the writer wants the reverse. Also, as readers, we live in a very busy culture. From morning until night there is tremendous competition for our time. First, we are bombarded by numerous emails. In fact 30 to 50% of our workday can be spent managing emails. In addition, our voicemails, to-do lists, and phone calls contribute to the complexity of our day. All of which means there is a steady flow of information continually taking up our time throughout the day. It’s important to note readers typically give any email or document three to five seconds to decide if it’s something they should read now, read later, or delete. Which means you’ve got to capture the reader’s attention quickly and get to the point right away.
By completing this course, you will be able to separate the readers’ needs from the writers’ needs.
Have you ever read an email or document that seems to go on and on? Typically it’s hard to understand, it’s a challenge to find the key points, and frankly you really don’t know what the writer is trying to say. In this situation you most likely stopped reading, put the document down, and may or may not have picked it up again. Unfortunately this ineffective writing style, called the Rambling Rose, is used by over 95% of corporate employees, at all levels of management, from senior executives to new hires. Just imagine what could get done if that number was cut in half! When we start writing without a plan, which can certainly happen, we tend to fall into a stream of consciousness. Unfortunately, this rarely works in our (or the reader’s) favor. When we write this way, we tend to bury our key points, opinions, and conclusions in a flood of words. This makes it difficult for us to make our point and for readers to understand what we mean. Frankly, this isn’t writing, it’s typing.
By completing this course, you will know how to identify ineffective writing styles.
Writers come from a perspective that is completely opposite from what readers want. All too often writers tend to write how they think. For example, they put background information at the top of their communication. They do this because they want to build a case before drawing conclusions. We believe we need to help the reader understand certain points before he or she can understand a request or recommendation. This is a natural response, everyone wants to do it, and yet it tends to be painful for the reader. Another example is that we can be hesitant to put our conclusions upfront. Instead, we want to persuade the reader first. Again, a natural thing to do from a writer’s perspective, but it’s still ineffective for the reader. While there is nothing wrong with this approach as a way to think through an issue, it’s essential you make an effort not to use it in your business writing. Instead, you want to invert the thinking process to a reporting process by starting with the required actions and ending with the background information to support the action requested or what needs to get done. With this approach, you’ll find that a lot more happens at work.
By completing this course, you will know how to use the reporting process when creating written communications.
Writing to get things done is easy to do if you have the right tools, among which include three essential writing models. These three methods provide a simple and easy to use process to organize and present your information. Building your skills to select and use the best model will make a significant difference in your business writing and speaking. When you clearly state what you want to get done, write your explanation or background details, and provide a sense of urgency, you’ll find your business writing to be more effective and much more successful. To be an effective business writer, you should consider the best structure for your written communications—each and every time you sit down to type. When you consider what you need to write, and the amount of information you have to deliver, you can adjust your writing model to accommodate these needs, and thus ensure you consistently present clear communications to help get things done.
By completing this course, you will know how to select and use the best writing model for presenting your thoughts and ideas.
Writing to get things done always starts with a strong opening paragraph. When opening paragraphs are confusing or don’t grab the reader’s attention, the reader typically stops reading and thus does not find out about critical information or what needs to get done. A good opening paragraph is essential to your success as a business writer. This is the paragraph that sets the tone of your writing, states what you want to get done, and will let the reader know what your communication is all about.
By completing this course, you will be able to write an effective opening paragraph.
If you have a fantastic opening paragraph, it’s time to back it up with a great middle and closing paragraph. These paragraphs provide key points and background information, as well as a specific deadline. Just as with opening paragraphs, poorly written middle and closing paragraphs greatly diminish the effectiveness of your communication and may lead to inaction from your readers. Having a simple framework to organize your thoughts and ideas will help you be a more successful business writer, even if all you write are emails. Use this framework to communicate more clearly and get more done.
By completing this course, you will know how to write an effective middle and closing paragraph.
When it comes to business writing, it seems the body of the email or document gets the majority of our attention. If we’re writing to get things done (which we should be), then we’re focused on what the reader wants. We’re taking the time to ensure the opening paragraph contains the action item, the middle paragraph contains the key points, and our closing paragraph contains a specific deadline. All of this is good. However, because so much of our effort goes towards writing the email, we often forget about one of the most important aspects of business writing: the subject line. Since a significant amount of our written communication is delivered by email, it is critical to compose great emails at work. This includes not only using the best writing model (Three-Paragraph Model, Three-Paragraph Model with a List, or the Heading Model), it also involves creating a great subject line to capture the reader’s attention and forecast what your email is all about.
By completing this course, you will be able to write a concise and effective subject line.
You will often find you have a lot to say, and yet you want to get things done and write an effective email. In this situation you may want to build your business case, explain an analysis, or provide key details or facts. If this is your goal, you’ll want to use a specific writing model. This model provides a proven process to help you organize a lot of information in a way readers want to receive it. In fact, once you learn this model and begin to use it, you’ll find you’ll use it for about 80% of your writing. The majority of your writing, whether it’s an email or report, will benefit from the Three Paragraph Model with a List. This writing model is used to help the reader clearly and easily know what you need done and when, as well as provides a format to organize key points and information in a way that makes it easy for everyone to read and understand.
By completing this course, you will know how to use the writing model required for about 80% of your writing.
As you increase the amount of detail and length of your document, you’ll want to change the writing model you use. When you have lots of information, such as for a proposal, report, or technical manual, you want to switch to a writing model that allows you to organize your information in a way that engages readers and helps them quickly scan for key information. Building your capability to present a lot of information in the way readers want to receive it is essential to your success. Do this well and readers will want to read your document (very important), but more importantly, they’ll know what to do with it.
By completing this course, you will know how to use the writing model required for long documents, such as reports and manuals.
To be an effective business writer, it is essential you keep the reader in mind. Adjusting your writing style and tone to meet the needs of the reader will always work to your advantage. When you do this, your readers will enjoy your document, understand the key points, and most importantly, they’ll know what to do. Making a conscious effort to implement a few proven writing techniques will make a difference. For example, readers want simple words and short sentences, instead of jargon and business speak. While complicated business language may seem to make your document look more important, simple and easy to read language is always appreciated by all readers. Whether you’re writing an email or long technical document, you will practice applying the essential writing techniques to your written communications. You can use the checklist in two ways. First, to remind you of the elements as you write, second as a way to assess the quality of your draft before finalizing your communication.
By completing this course, you will know how to use an effective writing style and tone.
Email has become a standard and frequently used method of written communication at work. Most everyone emails, and we all tend to do a lot of it. In fact, a majority of our written communication is done through email, which means the guidelines for what is acceptable to send has changed. Agreements, proposals, project notes, and reports are all sent by email now, many of which appear directly in the body of the email, instead of as an attachment. For this course you will learn about the email guidelines used to compose the best message and create the right tone for any email you create. In addition, you’ll receive a checklist you can use as a reminder of the components to consider anytime you send an email at work.
By completing this course, you will know how to assess the quality of your emails.
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