In order to stay relevant and successful, organisations are hungry for workers that have a broader set of abilities. Training in the Structured Writing Method™ can help companies to develop and nurture a range of key skills for a smarter, more agile workforce.
According to a recent Burning Glass study, quoted in Deloitte’s recent Global Human Capital Trends report, even data and analytics jobs now require skills such as writing, research, problem-solving, and teamwork. Deloitte goes on to say that companies it talks to now “list complex problem-solving, cognitive abilities, and social skills as the most needed capabilities for the future. Businesses are clamouring for workers with this blend of skills, not pure technical competency.”
Those familiar with the rapidly evolving talent requirements of today’s organisations might not be surprised by this; what many people find surprising, however, is that our Structured Writing Method can make a valuable contribution in so many of these areas.
Structured writing, smarter working
Over the years, many of our clients have told us the same thing: that the Structured Writing Method has had an impact that goes far beyond writing. Following this process, they say, can transform not just how people write, but how they think and how they work. It can help to improve skills such as teamwork and collaboration, time management and how people approach complex problems.
If you look at the method that we teach, it makes sense. The Structured Writing Method breaks down the process of writing into four steps: objective setting, messaging, structuring and crafting. What we’re doing is teaching people how to break down their writing challenge, formulate their message, build a structure to achieve their writing goals, and communicate all of this thinking to their chosen audience. Strip away the editorial references in that sentence, and you essentially have an intellectual process for researching, innovating, collaborating, communicating and problem-solving in the workplace.
How it works
So how exactly does the Structured Writing Method empower people with the skills that the modern workplace demands?
- Complex problem solving
Following the Structured Writing Method, writing becomes an exercise in finding an effective solution to a recognised problem or challenge. It means understanding your audience and your objective, and then structuring a written solution designed to fulfil a specific need. Becoming a better writer, in other words, means becoming a better problem solver.
The Structured Writing Method teaches powerful techniques based upon Microsoft Word’s Outline View. These enable researchers to create the structure for new documents, and to capture, deconstruct and reconstruct material from other documents. In this way, research becomes more focused and very much more efficient. [For more information, see this blog: ‘Content triage: the perfect answer to research overload‘.]
- Teamwork and collaboration
For us, writing is not always something that happens in isolation, but is often the result of people working effectively together to achieve a recognised objective. The method teaches processes that can be particularly transformative when teams are collaborating on documents such as bids, tenders, marketing materials and internal reports.
Writing is always one of the soft skills that employers are seeking to develop. In this context it is hardly surprising – yet still worth emphasising – that the Structured Writing Method™ enables people to become better communicators in general and better writers in particular. It provides thorough guidance on matters of style, grammar and punctuation. Documents produced according to this method are not only well argued and fit for purpose, but are also extremely well crafted.
- Productivity and time management
The Structured Writing Method breaks document creation into a series of tasks, with the writing – or ‘crafting’ as we call it in the method – being the very last thing someone does. Writing in a structured way can reduce the need for revisions and rewrites. It also means structures can be debated and signed off before any crafting has been done. For companies that are looking to work more productively and use time more effectively, the Structured Writing Method has a lot to offer.
- The bottom line
Some documents impact the bottom line of a business. These include bid and tender documents, sales and marketing materials, and pre-sales correspondence. We have helped many bid and sales teams to use our Structured Writing Method™ to write proposals that are inherently more compelling and competitive. The commercial benefits to organisations that are able to improve the writing capabilities of their marketing, sales and bid teams are clear.
Clearly, the logical, linear process taught by the Structured Writing Method is more relevant than ever.
Paul Ayling is the founder and CEO of Writing Machine.
Read more about the Structured Writing Method
What is the Structured Writing Method?