Do you ever feel like your meaning gets lost in the translation of writing? Clear, concise writing is essential for job applications, classwork, and work e-mails alike. Last week, members of Hanover’s Learning and Development team led a writing workshop at the George Washington University that focused on writing to create high-impact, actionable writing pieces. Hosted by the Graduate Student Career Development (GSCD) department at the Elliot School of International Affairs, the workshop drew graduate students in all stages of their programs.
We at Hanover Research understand the importance of presenting salient information in an easily digestible manner. At the workshop, Hannah Stopnicki and Rachel Lopez reviewed the key principles of business writing that students can incorporate into their school work and day-to-day to elevate their written communications.
Here are some rules that you can follow:
Organize material by importance. Your key question or main takeaway shouldn’t be buried halfway down the page. Start with the information your audience needs to know.
Write for your audience. Consider what they know and what they want to know, and target your writing so that your audience’s concerns are front and center.
Use strong topic sentences. Provide a strong ‘thesis’ statement followed by your support or evidence. Writing this way will make your points stand out and minimize cluster and confusion.
Keep it concise. Writing should be clear, objective, and understandable to experts and laypersons alike.
After the presentation, the students asked questions to dive deeper into honing and developing their writing and we provided a number of recommendations for daily writing exercises. The top two: (1) print out your writing and read it out loud to edit, and (2) make it a point to practice writing in some form every day. No matter how strong a writer you are, those muscles will only be strengthened further through consistent practice!
Rachel Lopez, Project Manager, Learning and Development,
and Hannah Stopnicki, Learning and Development Specialist