Monday, January 03, 2011

Unleash the Power of the Written Word

We have an awesome FREE professional development opportunity coming up at the Main Library. Starting on January 19th, we will be hosting a series of writing classes taught by Deanna Lorianni and Megan Codd from Zuula Consulting, LLC. These ladies are experts in professional language. Check out their website to get the full picture of all the cool things they do.

If you want to make yourself more marketable in the workplace and ensure your communication skills are top-notch, this is the program for you. The series will include seven classes, held weekly on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:45, starting on January 19th and ending March 2nd. If you're interested, call the Main Library at (804) 646-7223 to register.

Here is a list of topics that will be covered in each class:

Week 1: Writing for the Audience & Channel
We begin the series by addressing the first step in the writing process: identifying the audience
receiving your message and the corresponding channel(s) in which your message will be relayed. Students will learn techniques for:
  • Identifying the audience,
  • Adjusting tone and content to reflect audience’s understanding and interests, and
  • Ensuring information delivery is appropriate for their communication channel (email, formal paper, presentation, etc.).

Week 2: Strengthening Topic Structure & Information Flow
The order in which information is shared has a significant effect on how well the reader absorb and connects with the message. In this workshop, we’ll address:
  • How to set up effective (and correct) topic structure, from topic sentence to conclusion, and
  • Creating succinct information flow by linking ideas through controlled sentence structure.

Week 3: Getting to the Point
Aside from correct topic structure, delivering succinct writing that is free of unnecessary words and phrases is one the most difficult skill sets to implement. In this workshop, students will learn:
  • How to identify unnecessary words,
  • Ways to clearly share their messages using as few words as possible, and
  • Techniques for slimming down clunky sentences and paragraphs.

Week 4: Understanding Sentence Emphasis
Cohesive and coherent communication requires an understanding of how sentence structure affects subject emphasis in the English language. In this workshop, students will learn:
  • How sentence emphasis is correctly structured,
  • The way structure relates to the rest of the information, and
  • The difference between active versus passive statements.

Week 5: Choosing Words Wisely
Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightening and the lightening bug.” Correct word choice is essential for clearly and concisely sharing the message you intend. We’ll address:
  • When to use “that” versus “which,”
  • Selecting the correct articles before nouns, and
  • Commonly confused words (e.g., principle and principal).

Week 6: Using Proper Punctuation
Employing proper punctuation is a critical aspect of ensuring the audience understands the message clearly. Students will revisit how to correctly use:
  • Commas,
  • Semicolons,
  • Colons,
  • Hyphens, and
  • Dashes (en‐dash versus em‐dash).

Week 7: Keeping Up With Modern Writing
The English language evolves faster than any other recorded language on the planet. Consequently, the skills needed to keep up with the dynamic language also continue to evolve. We will conclude the Professional Writing Series by bringing students up‐to‐speed with modernized writing standards and address the various rules that have evolved over the past few decades, including:
  • Double‐spacing between sentences,
  • Comma splices,
  • Capitalizing prepositions in a title,
  • Ending sentences with prepositions,
  • Singular “they,”
  • And more.

This truly is an incredible opportunity for professionals in all fields and those who are between jobs. You don't have to be a professional writer to write like one! Thanks to Zuula Consulting for making this program possible. Don't forget to call and register, because space is limited.

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