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:
- Help participants improve their writing style in line with the standards identified by the Senior Management Team
- Give participants an opportunity to discuss and recommend a structure for management and committee reports.
The workshop covered the structure of reports, the use of appropriate language and important aspects of correct grammar and punctuation.
- Characteristics of a good report
- A process for writing
- A template for reports
- Planning and structuring a report
- Using plain English
- Practical session
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.
Here is some typical feedback:
- The course has given me a clearer understanding and more confidence to write reports.
- Enjoyable and informative.
- This has made me more aware of current/modern standards.
- Exactly what I required. Covered information I had not thought about for a long time.
- Very practical – addressed my own writing issues as going over the fundamentals that often get forgotten.