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issue 14

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Words at Work by Susan Benjamin

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Training Bulletin Issue 14

Welcome to the latest issue of The Training Bulletin from Plain Words, where a recent movie has left some of us looking forward to Xmas re-runs of the more traditional form!

Paperwork comes to us all in the end

“Your tools are words. Plain words.”

Bond raised a chiselled eyebrow and stared at Q. “Words.” His lip curled in disbelief. “Frankly, old chap, I generally find a Luger a damn sight more useful.”

Q shook his head.

“What about an exploding pen? Ultrasonic mobile?”

Q sighed. “Pay attention, 007: words.”

“Dammit, man, you can’t expect me to go out there and do my job with nothing but words!”

“Why not?” retorted Q scornfully. “Millions do. Are you telling me you can’t do what every business person in this country does day after day?” He continued smoothly over Bond’s indignant protest. “Now, I’ve found a rather useful-sounding workshop for you to attend, so you can brush up those writing skills a bit.”

“I hardly think I need—”

“Oh, I think you do. And more to the point, so does M. Tell me three functions of headings in a report.”

“Really, Q. All right, then. They tell you what that bit’s about. Um. Ah, they help you find your place again. Look, I said I was sorry about the ejector seat. They don’t cost that much, do they?”

“Headings signpost the content so the right people find the sections they need to see. And good headings can act as an informal summary of a report. As you’d know, Bond, if you ever read any of the reports I have to write to justify increases in the R & D budget whenever we issue you with equipment.”

Bond glared at the quartermaster. “I think you’re enjoying yourself far too much here, Q. Ask me something else.”

“What’s the difference between ‘affect’ and ‘effect’?”

“One’s the American spelling and the other’s British.” Bond often found that a confident manner disguised any amount of uncertainty. But it didn’t work this time.

Q looked smug. “If you have an effect on something, you affect it. But to effect means to produce, to bring about—”

“Q, I really don’t have time for this!”

“We’re all of us busy, 007. That’s why a one-day workshop will be just the thing. You’ll be in a small group, you can get one-to-one coaching on the things you really need. After all, there’s not much wrong with your grasp of English generally, but we all realise perfectly well you’d rather face any number of SPECTRE agents than put pen to paper.”

“It wasn’t like this in the old days,” muttered Bond.

“I’m afraid paperwork comes to us all in the end, old chap.”

(with apologies to Ian Fleming)

Advanced Writing Workshops: New from Plain Words

Like James Bond, we’re all of us busy. But, unlike him, we can’t blow away our problems with some handy death-ray-emitting gadget from Q, no matter how tempting that might sometimes sound.

Research shows that writing is a real stumbling block for many people, no matter how well-educated or competent they are. Words might flow smoothly enough when speaking but nothing sounds right once it’s written down. So a simple task takes much longer than it needs to, and too much business writing is stilted and wordy, and actively obscures the message it’s trying to communicate.

Our Advanced Writing Workshops are aimed at anyone with a good grasp of English, or who has attended one of our writing courses, and who would like to focus on the problems specific to them. If you’d like a chance to discuss your work in a small group, or get expert advice on specific aspects of your own writing, either call us on 01235 60 30 22 or email to find out more.

Editor recommends

Words at Work by Susan Benjamin

This is a good refresher of basic business writing, although it is American, so you need to be aware of American usage in it. It is particularly helpful on tackling mental blocks about writing.

Find it at Amazon

Public course schedule

Follow this link to see the dates and venues of our public courses.

The price is £495 + VAT per person for a one-day course and £850 + VAT for a two-day course. Half day courses are £295 + VAT per person.

We also offer private courses at your premises. Please call 01235 60 30 22 for details.

How to book

To book, call Abi on 01235 60 30 22 ext 20 or use the booking form.

Kind Regards
The Plain Words Training Team

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