New Wordsmithy offerings
There’s been so much demand for coaching and skills transfer this year that I’ve decided to give this area its own page on my website.
The Wordsmithy has been established for just over ten years now, so it’s particularly satisfying to be able to pass on some of the skills and experience we’ve accrued. Over the last decade we’ve built up a toolkit of resources, approaches and expert techniques to keep us on top of our game. We pick and choose from these to offer tailored coaching and support to clients, one-to-one.
I recently coached a delegate who commented that simply taking a morning out to sit and discuss the theory and practice of her writing was invaluable. It would have inevitably been squeezed out without a booked session in the diary. Discussing the requirements of her job and identifying the audiences she addresses set up the context for the hard skills transfer that followed.
I left her with a toolkit of approaches which we’d discussed, a list of ideas for communications she could initiate, some detailed notes about a couple of particular briefings she needed to construct and the promise of follow-up by phone, including direct feedback on some written work she was producing in the next few days. We plan to meet again in three months to review progress and focus in on a couple of specific skills and tasks which she will choose. She also has the option to initiate a working meeting if she wants to develop a written deliverable hands-on with me.
These coaching sessions can be as much about building up delegate confidence as teaching completely new skills. Reinforcing the things people already do well gives them the impetus they need to make changes and innovate. Often there’s a strong skill base to build on, and it’s motivating for individuals to see that focusing on just a few identified areas for improvement will make a big difference to the quality of their writing – and their productivity too.
Here’s a tool that some of the people we’ve coached have found useful. It’s called the Gunning Fog Index and it measures how easy your writing is to understand. Short sentences written in plain English achieve a better score than long sentences written in complicated language.
The ideal score is 7 or 8. Anything above 12 is too hard for most people to read. How clear do you think your writing is? Run it through the fog index next time you’re writing an email or briefing and find out!