Despite their facility with language, professional editors and proofreaders sometimes find it hard to translate their editorial skills into their own business writing.
Many editors are brilliant writers in their own right; hardly surprising given the close read-across between the disciplines. Still, editors – being editors – are also prone to insecurity about their writing: even some of the best, in my experience.
The workshop I led at the #SfEP2018 annual conference at Lancaster University aimed to give editors some guidelines and tools to improve their business writing confidence: whether they’re writing emails, letters, CVs, reports, reviews, summaries, websites, blogs, articles, policies or other documents.
Impact and engagement are at the heart of all business writing: we want to avoid our reader ‘swiping left’ on our content, sending it forever to the virtual dustbin. We want our writing to have an impact, an effect, to get someone to do something or think in a particular way. It’s not necessarily to educate or entertain. We have an objective, an aim, in every piece we write.
That’s what distinguishes business writing from other forms of writing. And we are actively trying to avoid disengagement as well as achieve more positive impact.
The title of my blog on the 2017 SfEP conference at Wyboston Lakes was “Linnets, Laughter, Learning”. All three were available at #SfEP2018 Lancaster too.
Alongside a big helping of food for thought. The plenary session led by PTC CEO Kathryn Munt added a serious note to proceedings, highlighting big changes in the way publishing houses and outsourcing companies are working with each other and with freelance suppliers, including editors and proofreaders.
Still, better out than in. It’s better that we don’t put our heads in the sand and that we stay fully conscious of these trends; so we can work together with other industry players such as PTC to address the needs of the outsourcing companies and make them aware of our needs.
More on that later. We should also celebrate the many joys that the conference brings. Opportunities for renewing old friendships, making new ones, letting our hair down (in a, by and large, rather attractive and introverted way) and revitalising our businesses with new knowledge, techniques, hints, tips and reminders about the things we know we should be doing. And learning some new words along the way, courtesy of Kia Thomas’s inspired obscenity-compounding.
This was my second conference and I didn’t think it could possibly improve on the first. But it did. Partly because I knew so many more people already. Seeing them all again felt very warm and reassuring and exhilarating, however many tweets, forum posts and emails had passed between us since #SfEP2017. Nothing beats IRL.
This is the latest edition of my quarterly round-up of key announcements and developments in UK financial risk and regulation. Although it’s longer than usual the reporting in this edition is still quite summarised, and includes curated links to underlying source stories or documents for the reader who wants more detail.
The rubber is now hitting the road with regard to Brexit and its impact on financial services. Opinion is starting to coalesce around the possible (or even likely) outcome. Accordingly, this edition of the round-up includes an attempt to broadly summarise the position; though it remains complex and fast moving, with many variables.
This edition also includes some links to and coverage of technical communications relating to Brexit – notably from the Bank of England/PRA – which are starting to appear in preparation for the expected withdrawal in March next year.
Elsewhere the dizzying pace of policy and technical announcements from the likes of Basel, the FSB and the EBA continued. As did business as usual regulation from the EU, the PRA and the FCA.
To help readers see the wider picture, or pick up anything I don’t cover in detail, I include in this blog some comprehensive indices of publications and announcements from individual regulators’ websites.
*** Note: The articles in this blog do not constitute advice, but please contact me here for further information, including where to get the best advice. ***
Tagline: Layering works well as a template for summarising almost all business and technical content: a useful, valuable, legal pyramid scheme. [20 words]
Plain language summary:
Layering is a good technique for anyone writing business or technical content who wants to put across strong messages to different audiences.
It’s powerful, adaptable and based on a simple idea. Your reader matters. Your readers matter.
The template assumes you’re trying to reach different audiences who don’t have the same level of expertise. Or don’t have much time. Or both.
Using a layered summary approach helps you reach everyone you need to. There’s something for everyone, technical expert or general reader, whether they have seconds to spare or much longer.
And you don’t need to worry about what to leave out. Because you can throw the kitchen sink into your final ‘resources’ section.
The extra detail won’t distract or crowd out your summary messaging. But it’s available for anyone who really wants to know more, leaving you to focus on what really matters: the message and your main content.
[150 words: Flesch Reading Ease score 61]
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