Measurably boost your readability score in this clear-writing class
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.
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.
In this environment, how do you reach the average American adult who reads at a 7th to 9th grade level — or less?
Learn to reach more readers in our Write for Readability workshop. You’ll learn to make your messages measurably more readable when you master 130 years of clear-writing best practices.
What you’ll learn
Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
- Reach Real Readers: What can your readers really read?
- Cut Through the Clutter: Boost reading ease with a readability test tool.
- Take the ‘Numb’ Out of Numbers: Make stats understandable, interesting.
- Start Making Sense: Get the gobbledygook, jargon & gibberish out.
Two days: You’ll cover all the material in this workshop and get extra time for practice, perfection.
One hour or half day: Bring a keynote, breakout session or half-day workshop to your association chapter or conference. We’ll cover an overview of Write for Readability workshop.
“One of the best career experiences I’ve had.”
– Scott Worden, manager, corporate communications & PR, Magna International
Reach Real Readers
What can your readers really read?
“The problem with communication,” said George Bernard Shaw, “is the illusion that it has been accomplished.”
“I would recommend this workshop to anyone who has to write more than 2 sentences a day – ANYONE!”
— Melissa Summer, associate marketing manager, CPP
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.
So how do you reach your readers?
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. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
- Write for real readers. Set reasonable readability expectations for your organization.
- Overcome special audience challenges. Identify what number of years of education your own audience likely reads at.
- Sell readability’s bottom-line business value. The U.S. Navy, for instance, saved more than $27 million by increasing Flesch Reading Ease.
Cut Through the Clutter
Boost reading ease with a readability test tool
Would your message be twice as good if it were half as long?
Yes, the research says. The shorter your message, the more likely readers are to read it, understand it and make good decisions based on it.
“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
So how long is too long? What’s the best paragraph length? Sentence length? Word length?
In this session, you will:
- Use a cool (free!) tool to get 27 text statistics on your piece — from the Coleman Liau to the Automated Readability Index, from the Fog Index to the Flesch Kincaid Grade Level.
- Get quantifiable targets for each metric: What’s the right length of a piece to maximize your readership? What should the readability of your website be? What number of words per sentence and syllables per word is most readable?
- Get tips and techniques for measurably improving readability on each metric.
Take the Numb Out of Numbers
Make stats understandable, interesting
If your readers are like most, they have, on average, below-basic numerical literacy, according a massive international literacy study.
In this environment, how well are they understanding your quarterly results?
“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
In this session, you’ll 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.
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.
“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
In this session, you’ll 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:
- Run a simple test to decide which terms to use with industry insiders.
- 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.
I’m ready to learn to make every message more readable. I’d like to:
- Book Ann for an in-house or association workshop.
- Register for Write for Readability, a two-day Master Class in Minneapolis on June 4-5.
- Browse all writing workshops.
Questions? Contact Ann.