Thursday, April 23, 2015

WriteCulture's workshops & recommendations

Some of you know I'm in the process of going from consultancy to company.

The website is still in the works, but here's some of the copy. 


Here's our top recommendation.

Two “Best Bet” foundational workshops

• Two half-day workshops
• Cut across all types of writing

Attendees use their own content as source material: bylined articles, media pitches, speaker abstracts, awards submissions, complex emails, case studies, reports, etc.

First: "Creating Compelling Content" -- 4 hours, limited to eight people at a time

1. Distill main point
2. Discover hidden news value
3. Structure for highest impact
4. Glue readers’ eyes to page
5. Build long-term trust relationships
6. Dramatically reduce word count
7. Think like a veteran professional writer

Second: "Being Your Own Best Editor" -- 4 hrs, limited to eight people at a time

(Unofficial nicknames: How to Have a Calm Supervisor, How to Write Like *David Pogue)

1. Demystify process – what to do when, with whom, how & why
2. Clarify writing standards for digital business era
3. Clean & tighten – tips for improving mechanics
4. Rev up verbs the real way, without a thesaurus
5. Learn when to slow down to speed up overall
6. Invite readers visually
7. Take responsibility

In both workshops, attendees make discoveries about their own writing. Each person brings their own work, and measures it against criteria, standards and examples in a workbook.

Attendees share ah-ha moments, and learn as much from their peers’ reactions as from the workshop leader. The outcome is not just illumination but motivation. Because they see it and feel it for themselves, they find the changes easier to make.

*Apologies to David Pogue  ;-) He didn’t participate in the creation of this workshop, but his writing appears in some of the examples.

David Pogue was the tech columnist for the New York Times for 13 years before moving to Yahoo Tech. He’s a monthly columnist for Scientific American and host of science shows on PBS’s “NOVA.” He’s been a correspondent for “CBS Sunday Morning” since 2002. He’s won two Emmy awards, two Webby awards, a Loeb award for journalism, and an honorary doctorate in music.


These two workshops above are the place to start, no matter whether you are:

• rewarding a seasoned team with a refresher
• shoring up a growing team receptive to help

Micro-training by topic

After completing the two “Best Bet” workshops, teams can add micro-training on topics including “SAE Transition,” “Award Submissions” and “Turn Survey Results into News.”

After you’ve taken the foundational courses, you’re ready to add on. Please note there may be additional prerequisites for a few of the courses below.

All classes below are shorter in duration than the two “Best Bet” foundational workshops, so it’s possible to combine multiple workshops within a single day.

1. “Make Your Pitch a Hit” (3 hours) –- AAs to  SAEs, mixed-level
2. “Get Faster Email Replies” (3 hrs) -- interns to  AMs
3. “*→Turn Survey Results into News” (2.5 hours) -- AEs to AS/AMs, mixed
4. “*→Make Press Releases Strategic” (3 hours) -- AEs to AS/AMs, mixed
5. “Grammar for PR Pros” (1.5 hours) -- all levels, mixed-level
7. "Latest & Greatest AP Style for Tech PR" -- AAs to SAEs
8. "Build a Narrative Arc" (2 hours) -- AMs to VPs
9. "SAE Transition: Think Strategically" -- SAEs and experienced AEs nearing promotion
10. “Up-Level Reports for Executive Eyes” (2.5 hours) – interns to SAEs, by level
11. “Speaker Submissions” (2 hours) – interns to SAEs, mixed
12. “Award Submissions” (2 hours) – SAEs to VPs, mixed
13. “Interviews for Case Studies” (2.5 hours) – AAs to AS/AMs
14. “Think Like a Journalist” (times vary) — all levels

*→ The workshops marked with asterisk-and-arrow have prerequisites.

Ask for info about:

1. “Blogging for Business”
2. “Journalism for Bloggers”

Easy-to-add standalone classes

Recommended next-steps after the two “Best Bet” foundational workshops:

• “Brain Pack” – Develop a business mindset  (by job level).
• “AP Style for PR” — It’s the industry standard, and our workshop is efficient.
• “Grammar for PR Pros” — Top mistakes by educated professionals. Entertaining.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

AAs, here's to your speedy success! (new class available)

Calling all AAs!

You could wait five years for the school of hard-knocks to teach you the-Many-Things-Your-Supervisors-Don't-Tell-You-Because-They-Forgot-That-They-Once-Didn't-Know-Them.

Or you can minimize pain and embarrassment, and accelerate your future promotion.

I suggest you ask your employer to sign you up for a May 27 class in San Francisco. You can take BART to Montgomery station and walk three blocks to this half-day class at the office of Paragon Strategies, which is partnering with my new company

Your supervisor will be happy

In the end, your supervisor will be glad because you'll immediately perform better than those who didn't take the class.

Promise your supervisor that you'll share what you learn with other AAs and AEs in your office. You can suggest a 30-minute briefing for your peers and then let that group decide whether to meet again to learn more from you.

If your employer can't pay but will give you the time off for a work-related morning investment in yourself, make double-sure to sign up quickly so you can get the early-bird discount.

How the cost compares & what you get

Divide the $497 early-bird price by 10 years, and that's less than $50 a year for 10 years, or 2.5 months worth of Starbucks Frappuccinos per year. The investment probably will pay off in earlier career success ... and probably higher pay earlier in your career, though that part of it is outside my control, of course.

Work is more fun when you're good at it and receiving more praise and opportunities. To make the class even more fun, see if some of your peers want to join you.

Advance your career, not just your skills

If you don't sign yourself up now, you'll have to wait to see if your employer will hire WriteCulture for a group training on-site at your office. That's how I usually work -- on-site classes for a team. But this new partnership with Paragon Strategies gives us a place to offer a public class to individuals.

A description of the class is below, but if your supervisor already knows me, you can tell her/him that this new class is a hybrid of four classes, winnowed to what's most relevant and immediately useful for someone with less than two or three years of work experience.

(The four originals that this is drawn from are: Developing a Business Mindset 1, Getting Faster Email Replies, Creating Compelling Content and Being Your Own Best Editor.)

Business Writing 1: Building on the Basics 
Business professionals who want to build more productive relationships with supervisors, colleagues and clients will enjoy a workshop that improves their written communication skills. Learn how to complete the transition from academic to business writing, edit overly familiar work with fresh eyes, and get faster e-mail replies.
These are among the topics we will cover:
  1. How to quickly distill the main point
  2. When to slow down in order to speed up
  3. The four types of email readers and how to write one email that works for all
  4. How to structure written communications to best respect readers' time
  5. Why proofreading is hard and what to do about it
Length of training program: Half Day 9 am - 1 pm: Bonus: Half Hour Writing Coaching
Date: May 27, 2015 - Wednesday
Register by May 19 and save $100: Pay only $497 which includes Half Hour Writing Coaching; a $200 value. After May 19, investment is $597.
Register today: Class is limited to 10