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Learn proven techniques to produce clear, concise and persuasive reports, proposals, submissions and other documents.

Learn how professional project managers, writers, editors, proofreaders and indexers coordinate their work to develop reports that cut through to their readership, even when readers just ‘skim’ the document.

By discussing sample documents and doing some group writing and revising (on paper and on your laptop), you will be able to judge for yourself whether your documents are going to work and, if necessary, edit them so that they will.

Do you have a small team of people with similar professional development needs? We can run this course specifically for you.


Course outline

  • Preparing to write: who is it for and what is it for?
  • Understanding four essential bits of grammar to achieve coherence and flow
  • Using or imposing plain English principles
  • Establishing and using a style sheet
  • Project managing a collaborative report
  • Finding and assessing information
  • Writing the text and assembling non-text elements
  • Substantively editing and rewriting the text
  • Writing an executive summary: what to aim for and what to avoid
  • Copyediting the text and raising queries with writers
  • Proofreading at a professional level
  • Liaising with designers and verifying proofs

Learning outcomes

This course should enable you to:

  • define the purpose of your report and achieve that purpose
  • understand and perform the entire report production task, from researching and writing to revision and publication
  • understand and apply the principles of plain English
  • tailor content, structure and language to your readers
  • construct reports that are coherent and logical at all levels: sentences, paragraphs and sections
  • capitalise on up-to-date practices for drafting, revising and publishing documents
  • use particular functions of Microsoft Word to reduce the time taken to edit and proof long reports by around 20%
  • use professional checklists to ensure that no editing or proofreading task is missed or repeated.

Who should enrol

Project managers, editors, writers and others who want to improve the clarity, conciseness and persuasiveness of their reports, briefs, submissions and other documents.

Note: You will need to bring a laptop with Microsoft Word installed. If you want to do this course but do not have a laptop, contact ANU CCE beforehand.

What you will receive

  • Personal investment from a leading industry expert
  • Networking with other professionals
  • Full course notes and additional resources
  • A certificate of participation
  • Ability to upload course completion to your LinkedIn profile
  • Access to the CCE student portal during the course and the month following
  • Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea each day

About the facilitator: James Dixon

James Dixon is a writer and an accredited editor who has worked in Canberra since 2001. He has written and edited for most government departments, many government agencies, large commercial consultancies and various think tanks, with a strong emphasis on plain English and readability.