The larger the organization, the more it depends on communications; the more it depends on communications, the greater the risk to productivity. Though the productivity lost through failed communications can never be measured, it is, no doubt, huge.
Large groups of people proceed smartly down the wrong road, other groups await with mounting impatience parts never ordered, and yet others waste their time enraged at their readers' inability to understand the simplest ideas. Though no cure-all, John Mercer's Business Writing Programs can help to assure that written business communications are better examined, are seen from more than one viewpoint, and, thus, stand a better chance of communicating clearly.
Great writing is an art; it cannot be taught. Instead, the Business Writing Programs stress a craft--writing that is clear, concise, forceful, and well organized. The courses present enough practical theory and work so that participants can see progress in their writing and can continue that progress. The two textbooks generally used, Writing at Work by John Mercer and The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, can be useful not only in learning the craft of writing but also in extending that learning after the program ends.
The participants are taught no one style, but are encouraged to find the style appropriate to their organizations, to their audience, to their content, and to their own writing voices.
These courses use no directed writing assignments. Courses which do so train people to write well for writing courses, but avoid the most important issue of day-to-day business writing: that it is usually done under pressure, not least the pressure of time. Instead, John Mercer's courses require that participants submit samples of their actual business writing.
These programs stress a concept crucial to all business writing: that the process for carrying out the writing--the way the writing gets done in the time available--is more important than any other particular editing technique or organization skill. The use of the participants' everyday writing for both example and instruction allows for examination of the merits not only of the prose but also of the process.
The participants' and the organization's needs shape the final course design and content.