Three Ways to More Efficient Team Business Writing
With clear goals and a transparent writing process, your team will be well on their way to producing higher quality documents.
Let me introduce you to Joanne, line manager in a large high-tech company. She spends hours every day editing and rewriting e-mails and documents that her team produces. The style is inconsistent, the organization is confusing and there is too much information. Joanne often tears her hair in frustration over delayed projects, thinking: I might as well write this myself! Sound familiar?
If it does, don’t give up! Corporate writing training can help you capitalize on the wonderful creativity that comes from involving many brains on a project. Here are three things that will turn your team writing into smooth sailing and bring great results.
1. Develop and follow a process
Unless everybody is clear on who is writing what when and why, the project is sure to derail. Have your team follow a shared process. Two things will help you here:
- Set your goals: Pinpoint your vision as specifically as possible.
- Plan properly: Decide on a shared process and implement it. Allocate roles and responsibilities. For example, who is outlining the work? Drafting? Editing? Signing off?
Clarifying goals helps you meet deadlines and get the outcome you want. It will also lower the burden on the editor.
2. Use reader-centered techniques
Following an easy process such as the Six Steps to Reader-Centered Writing® will ensure that you create documents that stand out, get read, and get results. Remind your team to stay mindful of the audience’s needs, attitudes, and background—and indicate exactly who that audience is. If different writers have different readers in mind, the end product won’t feel cohesive.
3. Create an environment of trust and collaboration
As coordinating manager, make sure you are attuned to the process and hold brief check-in meetings to ensure everyone is on target. Encourage transparency and frank communication around expectations and concerns. Ask people to be honest but courteous when reviewing each other’s work, approaching it from a standpoint of curiosity instead of a desire to correct.
Here are two more valuable tips:
Teach your writers to identify and repair their own mistakes. Explain to them their most frequent errors to raise awareness. That way you don’t have to rewrite their work for them.
Use idea drafts in your process
Whether you use the Six Steps to Reader-Centered Writing or another process to keep your team on task, involve idea drafts. In the idea draft, the writer(s) jots down the main points—the essence of the document—so that everybody can agree on an outline before proceeding with the project. This way, you avoid sending back documents that don’t capture the main idea or structure.
With clear goals and a transparent writing process, your team will be well on their way to producing higher quality documents. You will also save your own time by minimizing the need for random supervision and revising. Sound good? We thought so!
This blog originally appeared on this site.