Professional training in writing–it can’t be skipped or glossed over. It doesn’t work to try it as “you’ll figure it out.” How else can you get your ideas across to your audience? How else can you explain your plans to your group? No one gets to the top of the heap without good communication skills. And yet, most people cling to writing habits that are more than a generation old and no longer work. Developing business writing classes is what I do for a living, and a life I chose, deliberately, because clear writing is a joy to read.
Getting Started as a Writer
My parents were immigrants to this country; I was born a year after my family arrived in the United States, joining my two much older brothers.
English was not my first language, but it was the first language I fell in love with. My father would ask me how to pronounce words and ask me language questions that no seven-year old has the answer to: Why don’t hint and mint rhyme with pint; why is –ough pronounced one way in cough, another way in bough, and a different way in rough?
The gift my father gave me was curiosity–about words and their meanings. He was a good storyteller. His stories taught me to listen carefully for tone and word choice. It was a good combination of interests for a writer.
Discovering the Writing Process
Writing for different clients gave me experience in asking questions: Who was the audience? What does the reader need to know now? What should reader want to do at the end of the document? Those questions were the beginning of the step-by-step process I now teach. It also helps companies I work with find out what their real communication needs are. What their employees need to know now.
Our Shifting Language Changes Grammar Rules
Our culture changes the meaning of words, and words shape popular and business culture. Words change over time: awful used to mean “worthy of awe,” and clue used to be a ball of yarn. We invent and discard words–when was the last time you head a dial tone? When the language changes, writing changes, too.
Grammar rules change regularly. Rules taught just five years ago have already changed. Style guides change every year. Language is a living, growing, thriving part of our culture, from simple words to complex syntax. A changing language needs flexible training.
Entrepreneurial Spirit Leads to Training and Coaching
After earning a BA in biology and English, I went to graduate school to study cross-cultural communication. Earning my MA taught me to love change, innovation, and the structure of story telling.
My career has taken me to China, Australia, Singapore, and Europe. Every culture creates special words for important events and objects. When English brings in words from other languages, it often brings over the grammar or spelling rule as well. It makes learning English complex, but interesting.
In 2003, I left the corporate world to open QuinnCreative, offering writing and training—teaching what I had spent decades learning. I also offer needs assessment–what kind of training is important? What kind is urgent? How do you handle the immediate needs of your technical writers?
I returned to school and became a co-active life coach. Another year of study and I certified as a creativity coach to prepare me to work with people and businesses facing change and re-invention. Innovation is tricky, but vital for growth.
Training is not just about information. Adults learn best if they are laughing and engaged. That’s my job. I don’t stand at the back of the class and run through a PowerPoint presentation. If the employees are engaged and interested, learning happens. Otherwise, it’s just another piece of slideumentation that’s fast forgotten.
I am the author of three published books, two on confronting the inner critic through writing and art. (North Light Books.)
Currently, I live in Phoenix, Arizona and spend my spare time hiking the Sonoran Desert, writing, riding my motorcycle, and creating collages with words and letters.
Client experience includes
- Advertising agencies
- Community colleges (adjunct instructor)
- Financial investment companies (including T. Rowe Price and Fidelity)
- Fortune 100 corporations (including United Technologies, parent company of Otis elevator, Sikorsky helicopter, and Carrier air conditioning.
- Investment and tax-consulting firms
- Military divisions and Government contractors
- Municipal divisions (Arlington, VA; Phoenix, Chandler, Gilbert, Goodyear, all in AZ)
- Pharmaceutical companies
- State agencies
- Training agencies
- U.S. Department of Agriculture
- U.S. Department of Defense
- Utility and energy companies in Arizona, Louisiana, Maryland, Texas, and Virginia.
- Ads and commercials
- Articles for commercial, art, and science journals and newspapers
- Blog posts (guest, ghost, and my own blog)
- Brochures, retail, business-to-business, and point-of-sale
- Business newsletters (internal and external)
- Collateral material for retail, commercial and business-to-business clients
- Columns for print and online magazines
- Emails, letters and formal communications
- Feature stories
- Policy and procedure manuals
- Press releases
- Speeches and presentations
- Technical writing projects
- Training manuals
- Train-the-trainer classes
- User manuals
- Video scripts
- Workbooks for training, both custom and general enrollment
Ready for business training in writing, speaking or developing presentations? Please call or click on Contact. I’ll be happy to listen to you.