Writing Skills Academy

an Intensive 3-Day Professional Development Series (day 1 in person, days 2-3 via Zoom)

Class Summary

Note: December 1 (in person), 8 (Zoom), and 15 (Zoom), 2021, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. day 1 and 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. day 2 and 3. (Participants attend all 3 sessions)


*About the Live Online Zoom Format:
In the hybrid (in person and Zoom) version of the Writing Skills Academy, group work is shortened to a half day on days 2 and 3 in order to avoid “Zoom fatigue,” but no content is left out. The practice exercises will be completed by participants on their own time between classes and optional individualized coaching/support will be available for two weeks following the last group session.

Several days before day 2 and 3 of the Academy begin, participants will receive an email from AGTS. We’ll provide a link for joining the sessions along with other instructions. (Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 480.967.7544, x-3 if you would like assistance with Zoom.)


In response to requests for a written communication academy, AGTS has brought together the best of our most popular stand-alone modules into a comprehensive three-day certificate program delivered over several weeks to allow time to absorb content and work on personal projects. The program covers the core skills, tips, tools and techniques needed to produce a variety of written documents quickly, effectively, professionally.

Participants will help shape the curriculum through a self-assessment on the first day. In addition, they will select a personal project to work on during the series. The program includes numerous opportunities for skill practice and participant materials include a comprehensive workbook/reference manual, checklists and templates for use back on the job.

One thing we can pretty much guarantee, you won’t be bored.  Kai Rambow is a seasoned and knowledgeable instructor with a keen sense of humor who welcomes questions and uses real-life examples that participants can relate to and that demonstrate how quickly our language is changing–sometimes “overnight.”

COM110 13.0
One full-day session (day 1) and two half-day Zoom sessions (day 2 and 3). (One session a week for three weeks.)
Kai Rambow

Anyone who would like a solid grounding in the skills, tips and techniques needed to create a variety of professional business documents. (The series will also be of interest to individuals who supervise the written communication of others.)

  • Increased confidence in your ability to communicate effectively through written communication.
  • Increased productivity by using time-saving writing methods.
  • Fewer misunderstandings by using tips and techniques that foster clarity and conciseness.
  • Fewer document errors by using proven proofreading techniques.
  • A reputation for professionalism in written communication.

By the end of this program, you will be able to:

  • Ensure your written documents achieve their purpose by meeting your reader's needs.
  • Create effective, professional business letters, e-mails and other business documents.
  • Use a practical plan and simple methods to save time when writing.
  • Write clearly and concisely to reduce misunderstandings.
  • Stay up-to-date with changes in grammar and punctuation practices.
  • Review the most common grammar and usage mistakes and how to avoid them.
  • Edit, proofread, and format for the greatest effect in any written document.
  • Understand the importance of seeking feedback for continuous improvement in your writing.
  • Help others improve their writing skills.

(Note:  The symbol PE indicates a practice exercise.)

Day 1

  • Introduction/orientation
  • The communication process–the foundation of all communication
    • Overview
    • Program customization
      • Open Q&A re about grammar, punctuation, style and the writing process.
      • Writing skills self-assessment (identifying areas for in-depth exploration)
  • Voice
    • Definition/Examples
    • Factors to consider in working with voice
      • Your audience–why every writer must focus on the audience, not on themselves.
      • Type of communication
      • Grammar–the critical foundation of good writing
    • The building blocks of grammar
      • Background
        • English is a living, evolving language–change happens
        • The important difference between writing, revising, editing and proofreading. PE
      • Checking for proper grammar
        • Five points to help make better grammar decisions
        • The top ten grammar and usage mistakes and how to avoid them
        • Grammar essentials–a painless overview that will include:
          • The eight parts of speech PE
          • Sentence structure PE
          • Subject and verb agreement PE
          • Active and passive voice PE
      • Checking for proper punctuation (alert! change has happened)
        • New rules and practice exercises (PE) for:
          • Periods
          • Commas
          • Colons
          • Semi-colons
          • Parentheses
          • Quotation marks
          • Apostrophes

Day 2
Review and orientation

  • Proven techniques for writing success
    • Before you write
      • The writing process “pie chart”
      • Five essential “must do’s” before you start to write
      • Practice exercises
    • While you write
      • What not to do while you are writing
      • Three critical composition considerations PE
      • Special considerations unique to e-mail and six powerful tips to keep in mind
      • Who is your audience?
      • What is your objective?
      • What is tone and how to use the right tone PE
      • Three ways to gather your thoughts PE
        • Sorting your thoughts into the right order
          • News order
          • Feature story order
          • Reports and technical writing
      • Writing the first draft PE
      • Revising your draft PE
    • After you write
      • Editing
        • Ensuring clarity PE
        • Ensuring conciseness PE
        • Correcting sentence problems–quick tips PE
        • Formatting and graphics considerations PE

Day 3
Review and orientation

  • Proven techniques for writing success (continued from Day 2)
    • After you write
      • Editing (continued from Day 2)
        • Different kinds of editing for different writing tasks
          • Rewriting PE
          • Substantive editing PE
          • Line editing PE
          • Copyediting PE
        • Managing your time and space as an editor
          • Lighting
          • Desk space (or desktop for computers)
          • Resources
          • Handling interruptions
          • Querying the subject matter expert PE
          • Developing deadlines (personal and with groups)
          • Improving the approval process PE + template
      • Proofreading–key tips for helping ensure an error-free document
        • How to use a spell check and turn off grammar checker (yes, off–we’ll tell you why)
        • Proofreading methods for checking:
          • Characters PE
          • Punctuation PE
          • Agreement PE
          • Spelling PE
          • Usage PE
          • Capitalization PE
        • Commonly missed errors PE + checklist
      • Continuous improvement through feedback
        • How do you know your writing has been successful?
        • Feedback and follow-up devices
  • Putting it all together (program review and personal project work)
  • Action planning for professional development “next steps”
    • “Tide-you-over” tips for other forms of written communication such as technical documents, reports, policies and procedures and slide presentations.
    • Personal action plan
  • Evaluations
  • Presentation of Certificates