Improving the written word at Spinning Clock
Spinning Clock is a small design and events management agency, providing digital media and interactive exhibition stands for corporate and public-sector clients.
The need for a consistent voice
Spinning Clock’s staff range from graphic designers and animators to computer programmers and event planners. Everyone has direct email access to clients, so the company needed to make sure its writing was consistent.
‘We found that some people were good at sending concise emails, but not at grammar and spelling,’ says Don Turner, Managing Director. ‘Others didn’t know how to get their message across clearly. There was too much variety in our written communication.’
Emphasis trained the team in two groups to make sure everyone learnt the precise skills they needed to transform their written work. The course for the creative team and administrators focused on grammar, punctuation and proofing, with tips on planning, structure and readability. The remaining staff, including directors, attended a high-impact business writing course, where they learned and applied techniques for writing proposals, reports, letters and summaries.
A couple of months after the course, each delegate had one-to-one coaching to increase their level of retained knowledge.
Towards more assured writing
‘The main benefit is that we feel more confident in our writing skills. We have a much clearer idea of what our clients are looking to get from us,’ says Don.
The training also caused a shift in the way the company approaches the tender process. ‘I thought proposals had to be 30 pages long to show you’d put the effort in,’ says Don. ‘But a proposal should only be 30 pages if every page is concise and has a clear point.’
What the attendees said
‘It was an interesting and engaging take on what could have been a very dry subject matter,’ says attendee Mark Osborne.
‘The approach I take now with my writing is to imagine that I’m talking to a friend. Using this strategy means I don’t include business-speak or marketing strategy in my writing,’ says Don. ‘We also loved the Emphasis style guide, The Write Stuff, and are considering having it personalised for our organisation.’
The business development effect
Writing at Spinning Clock has become more consistent. And the quality of written work continues to improve, with tangible benefits, such as winning the Change4Life contract – a nationwide campaign to encourage people to eat healthily and exercise more. All new members of staff now take part in the training course.