Word Power- hone your communication skills

WordPower

WordPower is available in our bookshop in PDF format. An ePub version is in preparation.

Having worked as an editor for more than a decade and having worked as a trainer in good writing practices for a similar period, I have developed a good understanding of the tools needed to write compelling documents. Whether you are a student writing your dissertation, a business person or professional working in the corporate world or a retiree setting down your life story, well organised content as well as clear and concise writing are the keys to success.

With the end of the year approaching I am in the process of updating, revising and extending the textbooks of my courses and to offer a series of blogs that may be helpful to writers. Much of what I write will be of interest to all but some blogs will address specific concerns of distinct writing groups.

Having worked in recent years with a number of authors, I am struck by the seeming impatience of many to see their work as the final book form whereas from the perspective of an editor, the most important task is to prepare the manuscript—the correctly formatted and laid out text of what you want to say. An editor is not (necessarily) a layout artist; the skill-set for each group is distinct. Whether you want your publication in single column layout or two-column (or more), the size and orientation of your pages and other characteristics are not important until words have been set down.

What does matter is the formatting of your pages and your text and this means the template from which you work needs to be defined. If, like most people, you draft in MS-Word, you can use templates with built-in styles which do much of the work for you. Though of course if you are writing a Ph.D. thesis you may want to use a different template from one used by someone writing their autobiography.

But it’s not only the words and paragraphs that need to be formatted correctly, the illustrations (photos, graphs or charts) as well as tables (numerical or textual) need to be properly formatted as well.

We can help!

Our course WordPower was written originally as a result of work undertaken with a number of UN organisations within Asia while collaborating as a development editor with researchers whose native language was other than English and was used to help them develop their analytical skills as well as their communication skills. The focus is on the range of skills needed by individuals to craft the types of documents most commonly needed. The book and the accompanying course stresses the need to create clear and easily understood messages, apply appropriate tone of voice and to create a style sheet to bring consistency and a professional look to all documents. Participants will improve their writing skills and be able to compose a range of personal, business or research documents. Through exercises, people will be able to hone their skills on specific document types they commonly use and create their own custom templates.

You will learn how to plan and structure persuasive documents; the principles of layout and style as well as the fundamentals of good editing practice. We show you how to structure sentences for readability and correct punctuation as well as the use of clear and unambiguous English in the workplace. The emphasis is on business writing although it will be of benefit to all who have to write as part of their profession: those in government, those involved in academic writing and others who believe they will benefit from a refresher course in good writing practices.

What is even better is that we are making all of this available online in a series of blogs in coming months. We will also be adding specific material geared to the distinctive writing groups – students/researchers, business people and authors.

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