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5 Tips for Better Writing

Posted by Marsha Weisleder on 5/1/14 4:00 AM
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So a panda walks into a café, orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air. The waiter asks, “Why did you do that?” The panda tosses him a wildlife manual and says, “I’m a panda. Look it up.”


The waiter opens the manual and finds, “Panda. Large black and white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.” This joke is the premise for a book called Eats, Shoots & Leaves, written by Lynne Truss, a former editor, about the poor state of punctuation and grammar in North America.


Now, this topic is near and dear to me, and I will admit, I’m a bit of a writing snob, myself. I judge when I see people using there/their/they’re or your/you’re incorrectly. And don’t get me started on “irregardless.” There is no such word!


Luckily, in our Writing Skills for Trainers workshop, we review punctuation, active vs. passive sentences, noun-pronoun disagreement, incorrect parallel structure, subject-verb disagreement, and dangling participles. Let’s be honest, when was the last time you even thought about a dangling participle! And that’s not all. We discuss commonly misused words like, affect/effect, e.g./i.e., that/which, and who/whom, to name a few.


We also take your writing to a whole new level, in just one day. We show you how to translate job-related knowledge and skill into clear, concise, and complete terms for your target audience. We also examine the priorities of an instructional designer: to design instructionally effective and graphically appealing materials.


Here are five quick tips to consider for more effective writing:

1. Sentences need to be short – use 15-20 words.

2. The best way to highlight sentences or words on a page is to bold them.

3. A simple, single-column format is the easiest to read, create, and edit.

4. Two-column formats are best for job aids.

5. Margins should occupy 40% of the page.


Instructional Designer Starter Kit

Marsha has been a course leader with Langevin since 2000. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience. She went on to attend Osgoode Hall Law School and practiced civil litigation for a few years. While working for a company as their in-house legal counsel, Marsha fell into a training position and never looked back! Each day, Marsha brings passion and excitement to her workshops, always encouraging her participants to find their own passion as well. Outside of the classroom, Marsha loves to spend time with her family, travel, and stay active. Of course her main obsession is Elvis! Some people might think she’s a little over-the-top about him, but doesn’t everyone have an Elvis shrine in their home? Maybe not…

Tags: tips-for-trainers, instructional design

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Our very own world-class course leaders share their experiences, tips, best practices, and expertise on virtual training, instructional design, needs analysis, e-learning, delivery, evaluation, presentation skills, facilitation, and much more!

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