Cut Through the Clutter

Until April 17 only: Master proven-in-the-lab techniques for making every piece you write easier to read and understand …

“One of the best career experiences I’ve had.”
– Scott Worden, manager, corporate communications & PR, Magna International

Let’s start with the bad news: More than half of American adults have basic or below basic prose skills, according to the Department of Education’s latest literacy test.

Cut Through the Clutter - Ann Wylie's clear-writing master class on April 17-18 in New York

Can you read me now? Master 130 years of clear-writing best practices at our clutter-cutting Master Class on April 17-18 in New York. Register now.

That means they can sign forms, compare ticket prices for two events and look up shows in a TV guide. But most can’t find places on a map, calculate the cost of office supplies from a catalog or compare viewpoints in two editorials.

As George Bernard Shaw said, “The problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.”

But at Cut Through the Clutter — a two-day Master Class April 17-18 in New York — you’ll master 130 years of clear-writing best practices.

Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

“I’ve noticed that both my writing and editing have become cleaner and more concise. I’ve received unsolicited, favorable comments from numerous colleagues regarding pieces on which I’ve used these techniques.”
– Rachel George-Leidenfrost, internal communications associate, M&T Bank

PRSA members: Earn 4 APR maintenance points.

Agenda

“Great step-by-step instructions on how to do it right.”
— Stacy Mayo, assistant account executive, Rhea + Kaiser

Reach Real Readers

Get a reading-level reality check with results from the latest U.S. literacy study

“The problem with communication,” said George Bernard Shaw, “is the illusion that it has been accomplished.”

Reach Real Readers: Get a reading-level reality check with results from the latest U.S. literacy study

No kidding. Send out a message that’s written at the 11th grade level, for instance, and 97% of U.S. adults won’t be able to understand it, according to the Department of Education’s latest adult literacy test.

Draw more people into your piece and help them read it faster, understand it better and remember it longer.

In this session, we’ll dive into the results of this massive worldwide literacy study to get a reality check on the level at which your readers really read. (Prepare to be depressed!)

Then your team will master techniques that get more people to read your piece, read more of it, read it faster, understand it better and remember it longer:

  • Write for real readers. Chances are, you’re vastly overestimating your audience members’ literacy rate, according to a massive international study.
  • Overcome special audience challenges. Older people, health care consumers, mobile users — maybe even your CEO — may need more help than you realize.
  • Sell readability’s bottom-line business value. The U.S. Navy, for instance, saved more than $27 million in officer time by increasing readability.
  • Increase reading by up to 75% by making one change to your message.
  • Measure, monitor and manage readability — your No. 1 tool for reaching more readers.
“I would recommend this workshop to anyone who has to write more than 2 sentences a day – ANYONE!”
— Melissa Summer, associate marketing manager, CPP

Cut Through the Clutter

Measure, monitor and manage clarity with a cool (free!) tool

Would your message be twice as good if it were half as long? The research says yes: The shorter your piece, the more likely readers are to read your message, understand it and make good decisions based on it.

Cut Through the Clutter: Measure, monitor and manage clarity with a cool (free!) tool

But most communicators (and, let’s be fair, their reviewers) ignore the research and keep piling on the paragraphs. The result? “You’re not more informed,” writes Tom Rosenstiel, former media critic for the Los Angeles Times. “You’re just numbed.”

Analyze your message for 27 readability metrics and leave with targets, tips and techniques for improving each one.

So how long is too long? What’s the right length for your piece? Your paragraphs? Your sentences? Your words? In this session, you’ll run your team members’ message through a cool (free!) tool to measure, monitor and manage readability.

You’ll find out how to:

  • Analyze your message for 27 readability metrics — and leave with quantifiable targets, tips and techniques for improving each one.
  • Increase reading, understanding and sharing with five techniques for cutting your copy significantly.
  • Avoid discombobulating readers. Leave this workshop with 11 metrics for reducing sentence length and increasing comprehension.
  • Stop getting skipped. Find out how long is too long — and leave with three ways to shorten paragraphs.
  • Eliminate multisyllabic pileups from your copy. They’re the No. 1 predictor of poor readability.
“A Program Manager asked me to write a brochure for him last week. I showed him the chart comparing average number of words per sentence with the percentage of comprehension. That helped persuade him to keep the text simple and to the point.”
— Sharon Foote, public information specialist, Mecklenburg County Water & Land Resources

Take the Numb Out of Numbers

Make statistics understandable and interesting

If your readers are like most, they have, on average, below basic numeracy, or numerical literacy, according a massive international literacy study. So how well are they understanding your quarterly results?

Take the Numb Out of Numbers: Make statistics understandable and interesting

Avoid statistics soup and other bad numbers tricks that make your readers’ eyes glaze over.

“Numbers without context, especially large ones with many zeros trailing behind, are about as intelligible as vowels without consonants,” writes Daniel Okrent, former New York Times ombudsman. Indeed, poorly handled, statistics can make your readers’ eyes glaze over.

In this session, your team will master the art of making numbers understandable as well as interesting:

  • Avoid statistics soup and data dumps using three simple steps.
  • Help readers understand your numbers by asking one key question every time your fingers reach for the top row of the keyboard.
  • Make numbers more emotional by turning them into people, places and things.
  • Create meaningful — not discombobulating — charts and graphs.
  • Find free tools that create attractive charts for you.
“Some of the best professional development I’ve ever had. Everything Ann teaches is practical, and I can immediately use it to improve my writing.”
— Sarah Julian, director of communications, Oklahoma Public School Resource Center

Start Making Sense

Get the gobbledygook, jargon & gibberish out

Jargon. Buzzwords. Acronyms. They’re things that make your reader go “huh?” And we need to get them out of our message.

Start Making Sense: Get the gobbledygook, jargon & gibberish out

Indeed, jargon irritates your reader, makes your message less understandable, reduces your social media reach and influence, cuts your chances of media coverage, makes your website harder to find and demonstrates your lack of knowledge about the topic. It may even suggest that your company is in trouble.

Translate the language of your organization into the language of your readers.

In this session, your team will learn how to avoid these obstacles by translating the language of your organization into the language of your readers. You’ll find out how to:

  • Determine when to use jargon to streamline communication — and when to avoid it at all costs.
  • Run a simple test to decide which terms to use with industry insiders.
  • Turn Google into the best thesaurus ever.
  • Define terms the reader-friendly way (Hint: It’s not the way we learned to do it in Journalism 101.)
  • Steal techniques from Warren Buffett to make complex technical information easier to understand — and more fun to read.
“It’s a fantastic course that helped me improve my writing and get it approved by the powers that be.”
— Karen Saari, copywriter, Madison Area Technical College

Get a writing workout with Ann

Boost readability up to 300% in our clutter-cutting smackdown

In the crunch of writing headlines and meeting deadlines, it sometimes seems as if there’s not enough time to pause and consider how you’re doing.

Get a writing workout with Ann: Boost readability up to 300% in our clutter-cutting smackdown

But in our practice sessions, your team will get a great opportunity for reflection and improvement.

Master the skills we study in class and leave with a totally rewritten piece.

Bring your laptop and a story to work on. You’ll get a chance to write and rewrite, get and give feedback, and leave with a totally rewritten piece. In these practice sessions, you’ll:

  • Master the techniques you learn in the workshop by applying them immediately. (That’s how we put the “Master” in the Master Class!)
  • Gain valuable insights on your work from your peers and from Ann.
  • Learn to analyze and improve others’ writing — the best skill you can develop for editing others or improving your own work.
“The piece I worked on at the workshop has improved measurably. I found Cut Through the Clutter to be highly relevant to my daily work, and look forward to putting the tips and techniques into practice.”
— Scott Worden, manager, corporate communications & PR, Magna International

Location & logistics

“I got a new client by applying one of Ann’s principles. Cut Through the Clutter was a breakthrough for me.”
— Marsha Strong, general manager, 92.7 KKBS Boss Radio

Location & logistics

Venue

The Marmara Park Avenue

114 East 32nd Street
New York, NY 10016

Directions, Maps and parking information.

Maps

“Reviewing other’s work and progression provided a lot of inspiration I wasn’t expecting.”
— Kersten Rohrbach, communication specialist, Edward Jones

Hotels near the Master Class

Please contact hotels directly for room rates and booking.

Daily schedule

8:15 a.m. Registration
9 a.m. Workshop begins
Noon Lunch
1 p.m. Workshop resumes
4 p.m. Workshop ends

Meals

Your ticket includes morning coffee and tea, lunch and afternoon refreshments.

Ready to learn to make messages measurably more readable?

Fees

“Worth every dime.”
— Brent Buchanan, managing partner, Cygnal

Fees

Silver
$1,195
Gold
$1,295
Save $100+
Platinum
$1,395
Save $300+
Diamond
$1,795
Save $700+
Training, lunches, workbook
$260 worth of learning tools for $100
$297 subscription to Rev Up Readership for $100 more
30-minute one-on-one phone consult with Ann ($750 value)
“Absolutely the best money I’ve ever spent. I learned more about writing for my audience from Ann in one day than I have in any other seminar.”
— Carie Behounek, marketing communications coordinator, COPIC Companies

Discounts

  • Save $100 if you’re a Rev Up Readership member. (Join Rev Up Readership.)
  • Save $100 each when you bring two or more colleagues. (Big group? If you have 10 or more colleagues who would benefit from training, contact Ann to schedule a customized, in-house writing workshop.)
  • Save $50 each when you bring one colleague.

Payment policy

Your registration is not complete until you have paid in full. If your company requires an invoice, please use either the printable invoice or the email confirmation you will receive. Both will include the details of the workshop, including the dates and the workshop fee.

“I typically wouldn’t spend this much on a workshop, but this was so worth it.”
— Bonnie Leedy, CEO, School Webmasters

Payment methods

You may pay by credit card or check.
Amex, Mastercard and VIsa credit cards accepted

Cancellations/substitutions

Can’t make it?

  • Send a colleague. We’ll miss you! But please feel free to send a friend in your place. No charge for substitutions.
  • Transfer to a different Master Class. Choose one of our upcoming workshops. No charge to transfer.
  • Don’t cancel! But if you must, please cancel via email:
    • by Feb. 17, to receive a full refund, minus a 20% handling fee.
    • by March 17, to receive a 75% refund.
    • Sorry, no refunds after March 17.

We reserve the right to cancel workshops. If we do, we will apply your registration fee to another workshop or refund your fee. But we will not be responsible for any additional costs you have incurred, such as airfare or travel expenses.

Confirmation

You’ll receive confirmation of your registration by email. Please white-list Ann@WylieComm.com and orders@eventbrite.com to make sure you receive your registration materials. If they don’t arrive within an hour of your registration, please contact us directly.

Don’t miss your chance.

Our Master Classes sell out quickly. If you’re interested in attending, please act now.

“Some of the most valuable, actionable information I’ve ever taken away from a conference. Well worth the time and investment.”
— Lindsey Foss, PR manager, Iowa Soybean Association

FAQ

“I cannot believe how much I changed and improved one piece in this session. I also enjoyed the ability to hear more from the other professionals in the room. Very interactive, which I loved.”
— Megan McCarl, public relations associate, Lambert, Edwards & Associates

Frequently asked questions

May I pay by check or purchase order?

Yes, please contact us at Ann@WylieComm.com. Let us know how many and what type of tickets you need, attendee details and your preferred payment method. We will issue an invoice or purchase order if you need one.

Do you offer any discounts?

We have no doubt that the Master Class will be the best money you invest this year on your professional development. But here are six ways to reduce that investment or boost your return on it:

  • Save $100 if you’re a Rev Up Readership member. (Join Rev Up Readership.) Save $100 if you’re a PRSA member. (Join PRSA.) Click “Enter promotional code” and enter your promo code.
  • Save $100 each when you bring two or more colleagues. (Big group? If you have 10 or more colleagues who would benefit from training, contact Ann to schedule a customized, in-house writing workshop.)
  • Save $50 each when you bring one colleague.

I booked my ticket without applying the discount code. Or I received the code after booking the ticket. Can I get a refund for the discount?

Sorry, but you need to apply the discount code when you purchase. We are not able to apply discounts after the fact.

“Makes me want to go back and revise everything I’ve done in the past three years.”
— Blythe Campbell, director, communications and marketing, NANA Development Corp.

I booked my individual ticket, and now I’m bringing colleagues.

Can I still get the group discount? Please email us, and we’ll send you a special discount code your colleagues can apply to get the discount.

Should I bring a laptop?

Yes, please bring one. You’ll need it to edit your work and get feedback from your peers and Ann.

Should I bring my writing sample to the workshop?

Yes, please bring your writing samples to the workshop. You’ll write, rewrite and edit and leave with a totally rewritten piece.

“Ann offered credible and thorough information. Ann’s presentation gives you the confidence to be the expert in your office.”
— Zainnaib Jalloh, marketing and communications specialist, Doctors Community Hospital

How do I contact you?

Please email us at Ann@WylieComm.com.

May I update my registration information?

Yes. Please go to Eventbrite and update your registration information and dietary information.

Should I bring my printed ticket to the workshop?

Yes, please bring a copy of the ticket to the workshop.

What is the dress code for the workshop?

Business casual.

Do you accommodate special dietary preferences?

Please specify your dietary preference when you register.

Can you you accommodate special needs (accessibility, nursing mothers, etc.)?

Yes, we will do everything we can to accommodate your request. Please contact us by email and let us know what you need.

Will you sell my personal information?

No. We never share personal information with other companies.

Do you have any advice on what to tell my boss about why I should attend this writing workshop?

Here is a draft letter that you can use to help convince your boss. Also attached is a one page fact-sheet about our workshop.

“The best result is that our V.P. of Sales and Marketing is thinking about readability now, too! (We had a nice little talk after I edited a 26-word sentence down to 15 and told him why!)”
— Janice Owen, public relations manager, Mercury Payment Systems

Trainer

“Other writing coaches tell you what to do.
Ann shows you how.”
— Roberta Laughlin, vice president, mutual funds Marketing, Northern Trust

About Ann Wylie

Ann WylieAnn Wylie runs a training, editing and consulting firm called Wylie Communications. She works with communicators who want to reach more readers and with organizations that want to get the word out.

Her workshops take her from Hollywood to Helsinki. There, she helps clients at organizations like NASA, Nike and Nokia polish their skills and find new inspiration for their work.

Ann has earned more than 60 awards, including two IABC Gold Quills, for her communications. She is the author of more than a dozen learning tools that help people improve their communication skills, including RevUpReadership.com, a toolbox for writers.

Learn more about Ann.

“Ann is brilliant and arms you with the tools to succeed.”
– Katie Anselmo, internal communication manager, Comcast

Questions? Ann@WylieComm.com.


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