At Write the Talk, we’re busy planning our next ‘Writing for success’ masterclass. It’s a two-part course that, in a huge nutshell, teaches people how to achieve business success through better writing. We want to make the course even more useful for students, so we caught up with one of our recent graduates to find out how he’s putting his new-found writing skills into action and what he loved most about the course
For over 30 years, Focus Charity has been inspiring youngsters to make positive changes in their lives. By taking part in development projects, young people, often those from vulnerable backgrounds, start to experience life the way they deserve to experience it: having fun and learning with others, sharpening their employability skills for the future and developing strategies to take control of their personal problems.
It’s fair to say, a charity like Focus has a lot of inspirational stories to tell. Which is partly the reason why CEO, Matt Lilley, decided to develop his writing skills.
“I’ve always enjoyed telling stories. And I’ve always wanted to get Focus’s stories heard by more people, to sell what we do better, attract funders and inspire new volunteers to join us. But when it comes to actually putting pen to paper, I’d always felt like a bit of an amateur – I just took a stab at it and hoped for the best.”
Matt signed up to Write the Talk’s Writing for Success masterclass, an intimate two-part course designed to get businesses to re-think how they write, realise the writing faux pas that are holding them back and tell their stories through content that sticks.
We caught up with Matt to find out what he enjoyed most about the programme.
The chance to create a compelling character for his business
The writing course took Matt and the rest of the cohort through a unique experience. It didn’t just teach them how to ‘write better’, it first taught them how to write specifically as their business to get employees, customers feeling how they want them to feel about it.
“Getting us to think of our businesses as if they were TV characters was a really fun and effective approach. It made us think about how we act, how we come across to others and the impression we want to give off in the future. We identified the traits that made our business stand out from others and we worked out how we could get those traits across in our writing and the tone of voice we use.”
Editing his own work live throughout the course
It also gave them the opportunity to practice their learning by rewriting an existing piece of their business comms live, using the skills, techniques and brand characteristics they’d developed throughout the two sessions. And with on-hand guidance from us and honest feedback from their Teams mates, of course.
“Often with courses, taking what you’ve learned and linking that back to your own organisation can be difficult. But we had a piece of our own writing that we’d live edited, which gave us a practical and close-to-home example of how to use the skills we’d learned. I’ve since used that exact piece of text in funding applications and people have been really inspired by it. It made Focus stand out and brought our character to life.”
Offering advice and getting emotional
The aim of the course is to give the businesses the writing training they need to be a hit with their audiences. But doing that takes more than rattling off a load of grammatical rules or common spelling mistakes. Good writing needs to evoke emotions in the readers. And that’s not easily teachable.
“The way Rachael and Becky ran the course was really effective. The small group size meant that everyone had to contribute ideas and get involved in exercises – it put me on the spot a bit, which I needed. It’s very easy to glaze over a lot of online courses when you’re just staring at a screen, but they didn’t allow us to do that. We had to focus. Our course mates were reliant on our opinions and thoughts to help them create strong traits for their businesses and edit their work to sound engaging. We were the live, test run audience for their new way of writing. That little bit of pressure made the whole course feel extremely energised.”
We’ve got big things planned…
The WTT team behind the ‘Writing for success’ masterclass have got quite a busy few months ahead. We’re running a free virtual writing session at the Leicester Business Festival that covers some easy writing techniques that you can start using in your comms today to make them more effective. Sign up by following the link above.
We’re also launching the next two waves of the ‘Writing for success’ masterclass on 28th October and 4th November. Students will get to experience what Matt and his cohort learned and much more. There’s only so much we can tell you about the course in a blog without it getting boring – so why not get in touch with us and find out more.