January 17, 2018

Cut Through the Clutter in New York

Learn to make messages easier to read and understand in this concise-writing workshop

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

Read it and weep: More than half of all Americans have basic or below basic reading skills, according to the Department of Education’s latest adult literacy test.

That means they can sign forms, compare ticket prices for two events and look up shows in a TV guide. But they have trouble finding places on a map, calculating the cost of office supplies from a catalog and comparing viewpoints in two editorials. How well are we reaching these folks with our messages?

In this concise-writing workshop, you’ll learn how to make every piece you write easier to read and understand. You’ll walk away with secrets you can use to reach more readers, measurably improve readability and sell concise writing to management. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

Save $100 when you grab one of our early bird tickets.

Cut Through the Clutter: Ann Wylie's concise-writing workshop on April 17-18 in New York

New York | April 17-18, 2018

Save $100 when you grab one of our early bird tickets.


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

Write for Readability

Reach readers, improve communication — even boost the bottom line — by making your messages more readable

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

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. Mission: Not accomplished.

In this session, you’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 you’ll find out how to write easy-to-read messages that get more people to read your piece, read more of it, read it faster, understand it better and remember it longer. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Write at a reading level that really reaches readers. Chances are, you’re vastly overestimating your audience members’ literacy rate, according to a massive international study.
  • Plan your communications for special audience challenges. Older people, health care consumers, mobile users — maybe even your CEO — may need more help than you realize.
  • Sell your boss on the bottom-line business value of making messages more readable. (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, manage and report readability — your No. 1 tool for making your messages more effective.

Cut Through the Clutter

Measure, monitor and manage readability 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.

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.”

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 message through a cool (free!) tool to measure, monitor and manage readability. Specifically, you’ll learn 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.
  • Stop discombobulating readers with long sentences. Leave this workshop with 11 metrics for reducing sentence length and increasing comprehension.
  • Avoid causing your reader to skip your paragraphs. 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.

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?

“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, you’ll master the art of making numbers understandable as well as interesting. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • 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.

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.

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.

In this session, you’ll learn how to avoid these obstacles by translating the language of your organization into the language of your readers. Specifically, you’ll learn 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.

Get a Clutter-Cutting Workout With Wylie

Boost readability by up to 300% when you practice your new skills on your own work

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. But in our practice sessions, you’ll get a great opportunity for reflection and improvement.

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.

Save $100 when you grab one of our early bird tickets.


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

I would recommend this workshop to anyone who has to write more than 2 sentences a day – ANYONE!
– Melissa Summer, associate marketing manager, CPP

It was great to discuss in person. Even though I’d heard the condensed version in the PRSA 1-hour webinar, hearing it all expanded and having the energy of all the participants helped.
– Suzanne Krause, public affairs representative, Harry Ransom Center at UT Austin

Ann’s workshop is essential to anyone tasked with communications – their output will “light up the readers’ brains” when they use her very specific and easy-to-implement tips.
– Sheryl Bussard, senior copywriter, ALLDATA

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, communications director, Oklahoma Public School Resource Center

This was an insightful learning opportunity on modern communication. Really beneficial from a PR perspective, or really any corporate communications perspective.
– Madison Brunner, communications specialist, UPMC

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

This is my second Wylie workshop and they have been the best professional development I have ever attended. I’m leaving with a tool box of techniques backed by research that I will implement immediately. Also, at both workshops, I have felt so well cared for. Food, wifi, power outlets – all details were thoughtfully taken care of.
– Kelsey Wharton, science writer, Arizona State University

“Excellent data-/research-driven insights to inform the ‘why’ we should implement the theories; hands-on real-time peer review. I received lot of applicable tools to use in my work immediately!”
— Bridget Starkey, director, consumer communications, Lyft

“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. Also, the piece I worked on at the workshop has improved measurably.”
— Scott Worden, manager, corporate communications & PR, Magna International

“Fantastic. I already emailed my team to encourage them to sign up for any course with Ann. The blend of proven data, style tips, and way to tighten writing is fantastic. Ann is a great instructor — clear, funny and so smart.”
— Abigail Reid, writer/editor, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board

“Cutting Through the Clutter provided a treasure trove of tips. I will use what I’ve learned every day.”
— Jennifer Lucado, senior writer, Padilla

“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

More participant comments
“Highly effective, well-organized and genuinely fun!”
— Emily Unglesbee, staff reporter, DTN/The Progressive Famer

“This workshop was incredibly valuable. I think taking these stats and research back will be so helpful when talking to executives about why things should change and how that will be helpful.”
— Karla Best, communications specialist, Noblis

“Learning how to think like a reader instead of a writer has been extremely helpful. The last press release I wrote was 20 percent shorter, had a catchier headline and short, punchy paragraphs.”
— Jen Baldassari, media and marketing coordinator, National Center for Victims of Crime

“An honest and pragmatic approach to writing and editing. You’ll leave with concrete skills to use immediately to improve your messages. I’ve started haunting my team with reminders of what not to write.”
— Kelly Ferrara, The Vandiver Group

“I am deleting more words, phrases or entire sentences to reduce clutter and boost meaning. 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

“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

“Useful tips to help you achieve the goal of ‘quit whining, start measuring.’”
— Kristi Mallory, marketing communications specialist, Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International

“Our payment processing company loves multi-syllable words stuffed into multi-phrase sentences. Now we have better tools, such as the funnel system, to work through the clutter. 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

“My copy is tighter. More succinct. The ideas are still there, but the filler is gone or trimmed considerably (and better off for it). The other night I was proofing my latest blog entry and I thought, ‘What would Ann think about that second paragraph?’”

“I got a new client by applying one of Ann’s principles. [Cut Through the Clutter] was a breakthrough for me.”

“The most concise, outstanding ‘short course’ on cleaning up copy.”

“TONS of new tips and tricks. 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

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

Ready to learn to make messages measurably more readable?


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.

Location & accommodations

“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.


The Marmara Park Avenue

114 East 32nd Street
New York, NY 10016

Directions, Maps and parking information.

Meet me in New York

New York has long been the center of the American literary universe. It’s the city of Walt Whitman, Edith Wharton, Henry Miller, Philip Roth. It’s home to The New York Times, Reader’s Digest and The Huffington Post.

The city is teeming with good writing juju — so much so that you can virtually feel your writing muscles grow while you’re sitting in a Greenwich Village bar or sipping champagne at The Algonquin. (Now that’s my idea of a writing workout!)

Broadway, New York image. Visit after the Public Relations Writing Workshop

Give my regards to Broadway Why not stay for the weekend and hit some of the best art museums, plays, restaurants and shops in the world? Photo by Sakeeb Sabakka

Why not make a long weekend of it? I, for one, will be staying after the workshop to walk the High Line, shop Madison Avenue consignment shops, have lunch at Bouley, see “Dear Evan Hansen” on Broadway and catch the Kara Walker show.

Maybe we’ll run into each other!


Daily schedule

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


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


“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
Save $100+
Save $300+
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 ($500 value)


  • Save $100 when you grab one of our early bird tickets.
  • Save $100 if you’re a Rev Up Readership member. (Join Rev Up Readership.) Save $100 if you’re a WCI member.
  • 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.

Payment methods

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


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.

Course cancellations

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.


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.


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 when you grab one of our early bird tickets.
  • 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.

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.

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.

Save $100 when you grab one of our early bird tickets.

Register now

Questions? Ann@WylieComm.com; +1 (503) 954-2289.

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