On the Job Training for Your Team


Business Writing Workshop with Chris Heath

If it's easier to read, it's more likely to be read

The 3-Hour Workshop

Are you getting annoyed or frustrated with the quality of written communication in your business?

Facilitated in person with your team, this 3-hour workshop covers a range of principles that can be applied to writing a variety of documents.

This workshop will improve your team's ability to communicate with clarity while remaining concise and to the point. Ensure written communication across your team is easy to understand when:

  • instant messaging 
  • sending emails 
  • delivering memos
  • publishing reports
  • communicating important policies and
  • marketing to and serving customers.

What's Covered in the 3-Hour Workshop

During this course the attendees learn the principles of good business writing. We cover how to:

  • identify the primary message 
  • format content to focus attention
  • enhance clarity and minimise ambiguity  
  • create an effective call-to-action, and  
  • make written communication work for the audience.

Attendees will spend time in small groups to discuss and complete practical exercises that will embed what they learn during the workshop.

It's evident that when writing, some people may cause unintended offence or provide too much or not enough information. These issues stem from a tendency to write for oneself rather than the intended audience. This can create problems for businesses, resulting in mistakes and higher costs, as well as poor service for customers.

It is time to enhance the written communication abilities of your team so that your business can thrive.

Chris’s 'Business Writing Simplified’ workshop has been invaluable for our staff and business as a whole. Chris delivered a concise, interactive course that delivered to our needs. An instant improvement in both internal and external communication has been noticed within Vet Services.

Arron Scoble
Group Retail Manager, Vet Services Hawke's Bay

Chris highlights the value of clear, simple communication which is important across all aspects of business; both internal and external.

Stephen Haswell
Director, BioAg Ltd


Process Mapping and Procedure Writing Training Programme

Learn how to write a procedure manual

A Ten-Week One-on-One Training Programme

Some training programmes run as an intensive two-to-three day block, without much in the way of follow-up support. The end result is the trainee is left stranded, not being able to troubleshoot their way out of the problems that arise in the weeks to follow.

We've got you!

To ensure trainees are not left out in the cold, this training programme is designed to support the trainee over a period of ten weeks.

Chris meets with the trainee once each week to introduce structured writing concepts and principles, review the previous week's progress, and to set tasks for the following week. Chris is available through the week to answer questions and to show the trainee how to solve the problems they will come across when trying to organise and write up the information they have gathered.

Progress is reviewed each week prior to meeting up with the trainee.

By the end of the ten weeks, the trainee typically completes a procedure manual. Some attendees will have another manual underway. 
Examples of procedure manuals and their audiences include:
  • Operations Manuals
    Document processes and procedures across your workplace for a number of staff to follow.
  • Operator Manual 
    Document procedures for operators of machinery so they can operate the machinery safely.
  • Product Manual 
    Document procedures for the operators of a product, their supervisors, the installers of the product, and technicians.
  • Administration Manual
    Document critical admin tasks so temps who step into admin roles can get up to speed straight away after a critical staff member goes on leave, is away sick, or just leaves to work for someone else.
  • User Guide
    Document what your customers can do with your product and provide step-by-step instructions on how they can use it.
  • Franchise Manual
    Standardise all your methods so your franchisees work to the same exacting standards no matter where they work.
  • Online Help
    Eliminate the need to train customers one-on-one, and minimise the need for help-desk support every time you role out a new version of your software. With effective online help, you won't need all hands on deck ; just send them the link to your help files!

Attendees will spend time in small groups for practical exercises and discussions.

What's Covered in the Training

The training programme will be tailored to your businesses needs. The following is a rough outline of what will be covered over the course of ten weeks.

  • How to analysis information
    The trainee will work through a number of exercises to simplify, chunk and categorise information, and learn about the importance of styling each type of information for the reader.
  • How to structure information
    Simple and hierarchical structures suitable for presentation on paper-based and online mediums are covered so your staff can make sense of the information they have gathered.
  • How to apply logic to simplify complexity and eliminate ambiguity
    It's easy to misinterpret what is written. What is clear in the writer's head when writing can easily be misinterpreted by the reader. 
  • How to present both linear and branching processes
    Processes; no matter how complex, should be easily understood by the reader at a glance.
  • How to consistently present information about risks and hazards The aim is to eliminate or minimise harm, and to present this information where it is relevant to the tasks being performed.
  • How to maintain consistency across a manual and across a range of manuals
    Trainees will also learn how to put a publications style guide together.

Weeks 1 to 10

The outline of the training programme and what is expected from the trainee each week is discussed and agreed with trainee. Depending on the trainee, up to 20 hours may need to be set aside each week to work on the manual so that it can be completed within the ten-week training period.

The first step to writing a procedure manual is to decide on which process to document. This is typically agreed with the business because it has to be a process that is critical to the business.

Process mapping typically starts in Week 2, but may start in Week 1. The output of process mapping will be a workflow diagram.

The workflow diagram is used to identify and prioritise the tasks to be documented. The list of tasks form the basis for a table of contents. The table of contents is effectively the scope of the documentation project.

Over the remaining weeks, the trainee will, with Chris's support, complete a draft version of the manual that will be ready to review and sign-off.

We were pleased to find and identify Chris Heath as the person who could assist us with redocumenting our process and procedure manuals. I spent time working with Chris to establish our templates and content, resulting in a very good end product. I happily recommend Chris’ services to anyone who is considering this for their business. 

Greg Paget
Franchisor, Cleantastic NZ Ltd

With Chris’s training programme, we not only have a manual, we have an in-house resource to maintain it. Already the manual has helped new staff come up to speed quickly, made it easier to transition staff from one set of responsibilities to another, and will help us replicate our operations to new locations as we expand the business.

Guy McPhail 
Kooga New Zealand Ltd

Chris is amenable and innovative and has added good structure and process to obtaining a high-quality output from a large and diverse group of leading experts in environmental monitoring.

Rob Christie 
Principal Scientist, Hawke's Bay Regional Council