Case study 2
Improving report writing at a major university

A major university in the North of England identified a need for some bespoke writing training for middle and senior managers. As the department expanded, written communication was becoming more important – but at the same time standards were slipping. Existing staff had fallen into bad writing habits and new staff were unclear about what was required. Different teams, and even different individuals, within the department were using a bewildering range of writing styles and formats. In many cases the tone of the writing was wrong for the kind of image the university wanted to portray. Although members of the department were approachable and customer-focused in person, they seemed cold and officious in writing.

In addition, some senior managers, who are also academics, were confusing the styles traditionally required in academia with the style appropriate for a business context. In the commercial world, only the most significant information is necessary. Summarising a wealth of related issues may appear to enhance the writer’s expert status in the academic world, but it doesn’t help the business reader.

In response to these needs, Word Smiths designed and delivered a half-day report-writing programme which was delivered in a series of four workshops.

Aims of the workshop

Our half day workshop was designed to meet the client’s aims, which were to:

The workshop covered the structure of reports, the use of appropriate language and important aspects of correct grammar and punctuation.


Our four half-day workshops were extremely successful, with the majority of participants coming away from the events with a clear understanding of what was expected of them in terms of report-writing style, structure and language.

Client feedback

Here is some typical feedback:


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