Training case study
Practical Action – writing and editing training
Practical Action is one of the UK’s leading development charities, that helps poor and rural communities in the developing world use small-scale technologies to tackle their problems and improve their living standards.
This charity called ProseWorks in to help improve the quality of its written communication.
The charity’s staff were good at writing long, detailed reports on complex issues. When it came to writing succinctly, they struggled. This was partly because many of the staff had technical backgrounds and were not used to writing for wider audiences. Other members of staff struggle to produce simple message-led copy.
ProseWorks was therefore called in to train its communications team to sum things up briefly, and use simple and engaging language to convey the complexities of their work. The point of the course was not to re-teach trainees how to write; rather to look at their writing from different perspectives and to alter their writing performance and behaviour.
Our trainer put together a bespoke training schedule that helped the Practical Action team revisit the building-blocks of good writing.
This included topics such as:
- How to define your message
- How to make your issue interesting and engaging
- How to alter your tone of voice
- Principles of plain English – ten tips
- Basic editing skills
Interactive exercises were used to transpose these skills onto and into the everyday writing challenges that they faced.
Working individually and in groups, trainees explored how to use creative techniques to open up dry and inaccessible writing, and to make their writing simpler and more direct.
Structure, headlining and maintaining a consistent style were also covered.
This session was very popular. Feedback was excellent. ProseWorks was subsequently called in to run additional training sessions for other staff who wanted to attend.