Training and Development Solutions



Training News from Contract Education at
Chabot-Las Positas Community College District

February 2016   

Well-Developed Writing Skills Enhance Leadership Effectiveness

Strong leadership requires effective communication, and in today's business environment excellent writing skills are increasingly essential for successful communication. Whether through emails, memos, policy statements or other written communication, leaders can motivate, inspire, instruct and guide their teams to be more creative, productive and successful in their work.


Oral communication can often be misinterpreted, resulting in confusion, missteps and unproductive activity. Written communication allows leaders to express their ideas clearly and concisely so that team members have a better understanding of their assignments and responsibilities.


Leaders can convey their vision more effectively through reader friendly writing that is easy to comprehend and impacts their teams on an emotional as well as intellectual level. Well-developed writing skills allow leaders to guide the transition of projects from theory to practice, set the pace of tasks, suggest necessary changes and keep team members on track.


Many organizations are moving at such a fast pace these days that managers often find themselves thrust into leadership roles before they've had time to develop all the requisite skills, including effective communication and writing skills. Enrolling managers in leadership training that includes writing skills development can be an effective way to help close this gap and produce managers who are better communicators.


Let Contract Education at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District help your organization with customized, on-site business writing and communication skills training. To learn more about all your training options, contact MariAnn Fisher at 925.249.9372 or

Tips to Improve Business Writing Skills

When approaching written communication in the workplace, a good starting point is to focus on content and style by incorporating the following guidelines:


Use Simple Language

If you want to convey your message as effortlessly and quickly as possible, make your content reader-friendly by using shorter, commonly-known words and avoiding business jargon, long explanations and overly detailed descriptions.


Focus on Conciseness and Brevity

Most managers and employees don't have the time to browse through multiple report pages to get the information they need. Make the relevant facts easily accessible by staying focused on your subject matter, aiming for clarity and keeping your written communication brief and to the point.


Distinguish Opinions from Facts

Opinions and facts should be clearly separated in business writing. Confusion and misunderstandings can be kept to a minimum if readers can clearly distinguish between facts and personal opinions or point of view.


Establish a Clear Purpose

The most effective business communications serve a clear purpose, and it's important to avoid diverting from this purpose. If you're emailing a co-worker to request a specific response, including other unrelated requests in the same email may only serve as a distraction from the primary purpose of your email.


Organizing business writing around these basic principles - keeping the language simple, delivering a concise message, distinguishing opinions from facts and setting a clear purpose - should help increase the effectiveness of written communication in the workplace.

Writing Exercise: Organize Your Ideas

One of the most important principles of excellent writing is to convey your message clearly and concisely, and one of the most effective ways to achieve this goal is to organize your ideas before you write your memo or email. If you take the time to list and prioritize your thoughts in outline form, you reduce the time spent writing and revising as well as the time you may spend clarifying your message when readers are confused or unclear. A little preparation goes a long way.


When approaching your next document or email:

  • List your key points
  • Rearrange your list of key points in order of importance
  • Rewrite your first key point as a sentence, then 
    • List the supporting details below it
    • Arrange the details in order of importance
  • Repeat this process for your other key points
  • Convert your outline of key points and details into clear and concise sentences

If you need to cut your message shorter, start at the bottom with your least important key point and work your way up the list. If you really need to express all your key points, you may find that your message is more effective if you divide it into more than one document or email.

About Contract Education
Contract Education at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District delivers employee training, consulting and related support services to public and private sector organizations, such as manufacturing, healthcare, construction, technology and government agencies. We provide customized, on-site learning solutions that are innovative, practical and cost-effective, including leadership development, management and supervisory training, skill building programs, compliance training and curriculum development.

For more information about how Contract Education can help your organization develop leadership and employee capabilities to meet current and future challenges, call MariAnn Fisher at 925.249.9372 or email

"People who think well, write well... Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well"

   - David Ogilvy, Founder

     Ogilvy & Mather

"Clarity, brevity, narrative and pace are axiomatic to creative writing, yet are seldom applied to business writing - to its great cost."

   - Bob Wootton, Director

     ISBA Media/Advertising

"During my corporate career I signed up for a two-day class on business writing. I didn't know it at the time, but business writing is almost the same as humor writing. In both cases you leave out the useless words and get to the point . . . I would have used that skill no matter my career path."

   - Scott Adams, Cartoonist

     Creator of Dilbert

Contact Us
MariAnn Fisher
Economic Development and Contract Education
CLPCCD Color Logo

Economic Development and Contract Education

Chabot-Las Positas Community College District

7600 Dublin Blvd., Suite 102 ● Dublin, CA 94568

925.249.9372 ●