Bad writing is bad for business – and it’s everywhere. Write first draft is a new service for companies, universities and public sector bodies that helps their employees learn to produce documents that are clear, concise and compelling. Organisations that invest in these skills will save time and money; reduce the risk of their message being misunderstood or ignored; and maximise their chances of success.
“David led a lively writing-skills seminar with our analysts. It was remarkably popular, with many colleagues asking for copies of the presentation. It made people think about the way they write, what to avoid and the need to do a full read-through and first edit themselves.”
Angus McCrone, Chief Editor, Bloomberg New Energy Finance
“David Strahan did invaluable work for our inquiry into clean energy innovation in the West Midlands. He helped the Commission produce an 80 page report to make its case, which was powerfully argued and beautifully written.”
Sir David King, Chairman, Energy Capital Policy Commission
Poorly written text is hard to understand, takes longer to read and sows confusion. It makes extra work for everyone involved: the writer, the reader, their employers, and perhaps their customers. It imposes enormous costs in time, opportunity and cold hard cash, for instance through:
- business lost because your proposal was weak, confusing or simply unreadable – a poorly worded first line may have condemned it to the bin;
- endless phone calls to find out what the hell that email really meant;
- hours spent editing colleagues’ work to make it fit to publish.
Whatever message you want to get across, it already faces stiff headwinds: the average reading age of adults in Britain is 13; the internet is full of distractions; and nobody is obliged to read your document anyway. Writing it badly only makes matters worse.
By contrast, good writing pays. If you can make your text clear, concise and compelling, you will not only reduce the risk of being misunderstood or ignored, but also gain your readers’ trust. That makes it far more likely they will accept your argument or proposal. Whatever your purpose, clear writing is a priceless asset.
Clear writing takes hard work, but it also benefits the writer directly; the discipline of self-editing for clarity forces writers to assess their own ideas. When stripped down to its simplest form, is my argument convincing? The organisation that invests to improve these skills will let fewer bad ideas out of the door – and more good ones.
Write first draft is a service that helps clients absorb the principles of clear writing, avoid common pitfalls, and develop an ear for effective language. I teach day-long or half-day seminars to groups of different sizes, through a mixture of slide presentation, class work and one-on-one tuition. The sessions are highly interactive, and can be tailored to the needs of the organisation. The aim is to help clients develop their writing skills to the point that their first draft is clear, concise and compelling. To book a session with David Strahan, please use the contact page of this website.