Courses

Below we generally describe some of our course offerings. Each course uses our copyrighted Writing System as its foundation. From there, we customize the course for our participants' writing needs and challenges, including designing exercises with participants' writing samples. We can deliver each course in person or virtually.

We are flexible in our course design and delivery. We can recommend how long to schedule a course, how much time to schedule between course sessions, and how many participants to include, but we want to work with you to provide quality training within your constraints.

 

The list below is not comprehensive, and we develop new courses every year. If you do not see the course topic you need, contact us, and we can discuss how we can get you the training you need.

Business and Technical Writing


Our foundational course takes participants through the 12 steps of the Writing System. Using this proven system ensures audience-focused and purpose-driven documents, increases writing speed by 20 to 40 percent, and improves employee morale by enhancing collaboration.

 

Beginning with the steps of the pre-writing phase, we show participants how to analyze audience and purpose and get agreement on the document's premise. We also use outlining techniques to plan the document, help writers get to the point, and help management budget resources. We then provide recommendations for the writing phase: composing the draft without stopping to edit.

In the post-writing phase, we cover revision for organization errors, revision for content errors, editing for logical flow, editing to remove the ambiguity that causes risk, editing to make sentences tighter and the message more compelling, and finally editing to reach the right readability level for the audience. We also take questions on grammar and punctuation.

We devote about half of course time to interactive exercises. We customize our exercises for each group of participants, working with the types of documents and subject matter they are familiar with. For a cohesive group, we often use documents from the participants themselves, so they can immediately see how the techniques apply to the needs and challenges of their writing situations.

We work with our clients to find the right timing for the course, including course duration and pacing between sessions. We also work with our clients to build a writing training program around the course, including adding sessions on specialized topics (examples below) or one-on-one writing coaching sessions (description here). We also recommend a copy of The Writing System (2020) for each participant, so they can reinforce the lessons of the course with more than 100 exercises and gradually change their writing habits.

Writing Project Management


This course emphasizes the project management benefits of the Writing System steps and techniques. We show how the five-part purpose statement is a tool to identify and resolve disagreements on the premise before writing. We show how revision of organization and content can begin with sentence outlines, to streamline reviews and save time and energy from rewriting. Our step-by-step approach to editing ensures a quality document without repeating work, improving employee morale.

Reviewing the Writing of Others


This course draws on the Writing System techniques to show professionals how to review the work of others in a way that respects their own time and the time of their writers. We recommend techniques for setting the expectations for reviews and following through on those expectations. We practice marking documents to give writers clear, actionable feedback for revision. We show how to review for writing style without doing unnecessary line edits. We help reviewers equip their writers to improve their writing habits over the course of improving each document.

Practical Grammar and Punctuation


This course shows professionals how to check a document for common grammar and punctuation errors in professional writing. In this highly interactive course, we define a grammar or punctuation standard and provide examples, and then we lead participants in an exercise to practice applying that standard and raise questions. With 40 exercises, participants learn to identify and use parts of speech correctly; recognize and correct errors in sentence structure; use grammar and style guides to determine punctuation standards; apply punctuation marks in compliance with standards; and use different tools to help their check for correctness. We can customize this course to align with an organization's style guide.

Proofreading


This course gives professionals tools and techniques to proofread accurately and efficiently. We define what proofreading is, including when it happens, why it matters, what makes a good proofreader, and what they look for. We define the top errors to find while proofreading, including errors in word choice, grammar, punctuation, and mechanics. We show participants how to use certain tools to find and correct errors, including using style manuals and style sheets as tools. Finally, we discuss how to transition from proofreading to final production, including knowing when enough proofreading is enough. We can customize our exercises by proofreading samples of writing by your organization.

Writing for Publication


This course applies the steps and techniques of the Writing System to the preparation, writing, editing, and submission of articles for peer-reviewed publication. We explain how and why to prepare articles for specific audiences, including targeting specific journals for submission. We use examples of peer-reviewed articles to identify marks of good organization and good writing. We show how to use the Writing System to plan for page and word limits and budget time to write and revise. Finally, we recommend how to interact with journal editors throughout the submission and review process.

Proposal Writing and Management


This course shows how the Writing System can streamline the production of federal contract or research grant proposals. We show participants how to use audience and purpose analysis to settle on a winning message. We practice using sentence outlining to ensure a compliant and compelling proposal narrative. We use the edits for coherence, clarity, and conciseness to achieve "one voice" in writing style and reduce the risk of misinterpretation. We also recommend how to manage the proposal process to submit quality proposals on time, every time, and while respecting your employees' time and energy.

Experience by Clients and Domains

We have delivered these courses to over 85,000 professionals around the world, in science, technology, engineering, business, civil service, education, and more. To show the range of domains we work in, below we list some of the organizations who have invited us to deliver courses to their professionals.

Health and Medicine
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of the Commissioner

  • FDA Office of Management

  • FDA Office of Pharmaceutical Quality

  • FDA Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology

  • FDA Office of Translational Sciences

  • FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research

  • FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research

  • FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health

  • FDA Center for Tobacco Products

  • FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine

  • FDA Center for Food Safety and Nutrition

  • FDA Division of Medication Error Prevention and Analysis

  • FDA University

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

  • National Cancer Institute

  • National Library of Medicine

  • Health and Human Services (HHS) University

  • HHS Health Resource and Services Administration

  • HHS Administration of Children and Families

  • HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

  • HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • National Network of Public Health Institutes

  • Duke-Margolis Health Policy Center

  • ATI Advisory Group

  • Intervet Inc.

  • Amgen

  • Celgene

  • Covance

  • Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)

  • Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America (MTPA)


Technology and Engineering
  • NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

  • U.S. Department of the Navy

  • Naval Surface Warfare Center

  • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)

  • Joint National Integration Center (JNIC)

  • U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)

  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

  • Virginia Department of Transportation

  • AkzoNobel

  • BAE Systems

  • Lockheed-Martin Northrop Grumman

  • KBR, Inc.

  • Creative Information Technology, Inc. (CITI)

  • Excella, Inc.

  • Constellation Energy

  • Forrester Construction

  • Christopher Consulting, Inc.

  • QinetiQ North America

  • Celfocus, Portugal

  • TESS, Inc.

  • Dialogic Corporation

  • JAYCOR

  • Teledyne Brown Engineering

 

Civil Service
  • Architect of the U.S. Capitol

  • Library of Congress

  • U.S. Public Building Services

  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

  • U.S. Government Printing Office

  • Veterans Administration

  • Bureau of National Affairs

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs

  • Bureau of Reclamation

  • Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

 
Management, Analysis, and Communication
  • SRA, Inc.

  • Whitney, Bradley & Brown, Inc.

  • TRIOS, Inc.

  • Evans, Inc.

  • DCI Group, Inc.

  • Slone Partners

  • Avalere Health

  • Alvarez & Marsal

  • ATI Advisory

 
Nonprofit Research and Advocacy
  • American Public Transportation Association

  • Foreign Service Program

  • INROADS, Inc.

  • MITRE Corporation

  • Gloucester Institute

  • National Housing Partnership

  • Center for International Private Enterprise


Education
  • American University Key Executive Program

  • Georgetown University

  • University of Virginia Biocomplexity Institute and Initiative

  • U.S. Department of Education

  • Kentucky Geological Survey


Law Enforcement
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Customs and Border Protection

  • DHS U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

  • DHS U.S. Secret Service

  • DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

  • Prince William Co. Criminal Justice Academy

 

Entertainment
  • Discovery Communications