The Four Stages of Assessment for Reader-Centered Business Writing™
Can you be a 6 in grammar, or do you have to be a 10 to survive?
The assessment process for becoming an in-house Reader-Centered Business Writing facilitator goes something like this:
1. reviews your writing samples.
2. asks you to complete the Editing Inventory, an array of questions that challenge your knowledge of grammar, punctuation, and style. If you don’t know the difference between “its” and “it’s,” you may want to quit while you’re ahead. We call it the “kiss of death” question.
3. sends you three strategic editing exercises and gives you two hours to complete them. This tells us how you would respond as a coach when someone puts a document in front of you. You have 20 minutes to give constructive advice.
4. asks you to facilitate a 15-minute segment of our workshop using our materials. We instruct the audience in advance to role play a typical group from your company. Sometimes the audience throws curve balls at the presenter to test his or her handling of the unexpected.
I’ve been ramping up new facilitators for over 25 years, so I may make it sound too easy. To give you an on-the-ground perspective, I called one of our facilitators at a software company and asked her about her certification experience.
What were you worried about that turned out to be insignificant?
“In the writing world, both in business and academia, being published is everything. I have never been published, and I was worried that my colleagues would not take me seriously as an expert. My fear was unfounded because as soon as learners realized that the program was about them and THEIR daily documents, my role as an expert became less important. At the end of the day, when they sent out an e-mail that they wrote with the new writing process—and actually got quicker responses-they no longer cared about me and my credentials.”
What should you have been worried about that you weren’t?
“Even though the Better Communications program is very strategic, people will still ask you grammar questions. Most facilitators don’t realize just how specific grammar can be. I thought I knew everything about grammar, but I really had to brush up. I’ve always been the go-to person for grammar at my company, but as I started teaching business writing, I relived learning all the nitpicky rules and exceptions that you just need to know. If you don’t check everything twice, you are at risk of appearing to be not very smart.”
Remember, if all else fails, we tell our facilitators to use this response: “Let’s look it up together!”