Everything you need to know about our bespoke in-company business-writing training

You may or may not be tempted to visit a tailor the next time you want to buy a suit. But you probably know that if you did, you’d end up with something that fitted you much better than if you went with off-the-rack.

The same is true of training. We run scheduled courses that individuals can join, and attending one of these will absolutely give attendees a strong grounding in the writing area it covers. But our bespoke business-writing training can go that much further. 

And if you have at least four people to train, we will always suggest you go with this option. Not only will your team’s training be an even better fit, it will be more cost-effective per person.

Here we’ll explain everything you need to know about this option.




What do we mean by ‘bespoke training’?

Most of our bespoke training programmes include or centre on small-group courses. These run live, led by an expert trainer, and have around eight to ten people on each session. Depending on what you’re looking to achieve, any time limitations and possibly your budget, these might be half-day or full-day sessions, or longer. 

Aside from the length of the training, the term ‘bespoke’ applies in a few more ways.


Topics and document types

First, you can choose which kinds of written communications the training will tackle. In the scheduled open programme, the topic focus in each course has to be fairly narrow. But your requirements might be a little more complex. 

For example, you may want to focus mostly on technical writing, with a little email best-practice thrown in. Or you might need a course for one team that delves deeply into how to write compelling thought leadership articles, with another covering minute-taking, instant messaging and reports for a different department. 

We also don’t have scheduled courses on every possible kind of written communication. But whatever kind of writing your team do at work, we can almost certainly help them to do it better with our tailored training. Just chat with us about what you’re looking for and we’ll let you know what we can do.  


‘Tailored to us, practical, excellent – third time I have used Emphasis in a different company and it did not disappoint.’

Daisy Williamson, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer


While you can cover as many topics as you need to, it’s important to be realistic about how much can fit into a single session. The word ‘intensive’ often comes up in our feedback responses, and with good reason: we pack courses with a lot of both theory and practice. And naturally, there’s a limit to how much people can effectively take in in one go. 

So if you have many topics you’d like to cover, we may suggest splitting them across multiple courses or combining a few different approaches (such as a course plus a tailored webinar).


Tailored materials

Perhaps the most significant part of our bespoke training is that we can tailor the learning materials to your industry, company and in-house documents.

Generic examples and exercises can go some way in helping learners to understand the techniques and to start practising using them. But it’s much more meaningful and easy to translate to their working lives if the materials are created using familiar terminology, relevant examples and actual documents that they interact with every day.

For this reason, we always make sure we understand your company and sector, as well as your specific challenges and goals, before developing your course. 

And it’s why we’ll ask you to supply us with real-life examples of documents from your company. From these, we can build targeted exercises that show your team exactly how the techniques we teach apply to the communications they see (and write) at work. They’ll also see the difference it makes when you use them.


‘Really fantastic course – very informative and varied, and it was instantly applicable to my day to day.’

Maddie Gale, Uber

A note on how we use your example documents
Because these example documents will be discussed (and possibly dissected) during the course, make sure the author is happy for us to use their work. You might prefer to choose documents that weren’t written by attendees. 

Rest assured that any critique will always be constructive, never attacking. But it’s important that everyone in the room feels comfortable, and people can feel singled out if their work is under scrutiny – especially if they didn’t know in advance. 


Blended learning programmes

As we’ve touched upon already, you’re not limited to running one-off courses. And there’s good reason to consider taking a mixed approach.

Running a course introduces a range of important techniques that will make a huge difference to how your team write – and get them putting these into practice. But you can see deeper and more sustained effects by combining multiple training elements into a blended programme. 

As well as our half- or full-day courses and analysis (more on this in a moment), there’s the option of bespoke webinars, coaching and e-learning

We can review or rewrite your template documents or boilerplate bid copy, consult on your bid process, and help you create or implement a style guide or company tone of voice. 

And we can train members of your team to be advocates and leaders of your organisation’s written voice. 

Essentially, you have the ability to create your own formula, so you have something that addresses everything you’re trying to achieve. 

The flexibility of options here means you’re also more able to build a programme that will fit with your budget. And the blended approach fits best with the nature of learning: when we work on new skills, we need time to practise and assimilate them. 


Face-to-face or online training

It is up to you whether your training sessions run in person or online. We can do either and have long experience in both: we’ve been running our face-to-face courses since 1998 and online training since 2009. 

In feedback on our trainer-led courses, delegates often note how engaging they found the sessions, despite the seemingly ‘dry’ nature of the subject matter. (We may not agree that writing is by nature ‘dry’, but we’ve seen this description enough times to know it’s a common belief! Happily, most delegates change their minds about this during the course.)


‘Very well planned with activities for different learning styles and to help process information. Excellent facilitator.’

Hannah Wharf, Equality and Human Rights Commission


‘This course has been one of the best I have done and is truly transferable into day-to-day business. I think everyone should do it!’

Amy Bennett-Inge, Nestlé


Over the years, we’ve fine-tuned how we translate face-to-face learning to the virtual classroom. We’ve learned how important it is to be realistic about the differences between participating online rather than in person. 

For example, it can be more tiring to learn online, simply because of the effect screens have on our eyes. So we deliver the remote training in two intensive sessions over two days to keep the energy up. 

And to maintain engagement, attendees will never find themselves sitting passively through a virtual lecture. Live polling, breakout rooms and activities, shared whiteboards and other tools ensure participants enjoy a really engaging and collaborative experience. 

Of course, one big benefit of the virtual classroom is that delegates can attend from anywhere. All they each need is a computer, a headset and stable internet access.


‘Seamless use of technology. Some of the best interaction I have experienced on an online course.’

Harry Folkes, Talbot Underwriting Services


You can learn more by taking a little tour of our virtual classroom here. Though our online training has already evolved further even since this post was published, thanks to the intense learning experience that 2020 provided.


Unique individual writing analysis

Every delegate has their own unique combination of strengths, weaknesses and blindspots when it comes to their writing. That’s why our individual writing analysis is such a pivotal part of all our training (including our scheduled courses). It’s the final puzzle piece that turns useful techniques into relevant practices that can change how well each person communicates in writing at work. 

Before the live training, we’ll request a sample of writing from each participant. The group’s expert trainer will analyse each sample and we’ll produce a graph of the results that shows both stronger areas and those that need work.

The trainer will return these to each person individually during the training and talk them through their results. They’ll explain how to call on the techniques they’ve been learning to write more effectively. 

There are three main reasons the analysis is so important:

  • It’s a way of quantifying skills and results (before and after training), turning something abstract into something measurable.
  • It clarifies where delegates need to focus their efforts to make the biggest improvements.
  • It makes the relevance of the learning crystal clear – many delegates describe receiving their results and feedback as their ‘Aha!’ moment. 


Our operations team will manage the process of collecting the samples from your team. 


‘The feedback I received for my technical writing was fantastic. There were so many annotations and comments. This will really help me with all future writing tasks.’

Celia Wighton, Radioactive Waste Management


Ongoing support

As we’ve said, as much as your team may learn on their course, putting it into practice will take more time and further support. 

All delegates will be able to contact our helpdesk with questions for a year after the training if they get stuck as they work on implementing the techniques. (Note that this isn’t a review or proofreading service – though we do offer these as paid services.)

Delegates can also choose to sign up to our e-bulletin, through which they’ll receive articles and resources to help them keep improving.

You have the option of including follow-up coaching clinics in your programme. These help to reinforce the learning and measure what improvements delegates have made, as we’ll analyse a second writing sample – to show what’s changed since the initial training. Delegates will be able to work through any ongoing challenges in an intensive one-to-one coaching session with the trainer.


Common questions about our training

There are some questions that (understandably) come up regularly when people are considering our training. Questions like:

  • Why do group sizes need to be so small?
  • Is your training suitable for non-native speakers of English?
  • How much will the training cost?
  • How can we make sure the training makes a difference?


In case you have these questions too, you’ll find the answers here.


‘The training has given us a common identity for how we write our documents, and that has been recognised by our clients as very valuable.’

Peter Hodgetts, Chief Executive, SeaRoc Group


‘We’ve been more successful in our business goals since the training and have won a number of recent bids. For every bid we’ve submitted, we have had excellent feedback.’

Chris Edwards, Business Development Manager, Liverpool John Moores University


Timeline: what to expect from enquiry to training (and beyond), and what we’ll need from you

Wondering what the process – from getting in touch to booking and running training – looks like? Here’s a typical timeline.


> Your first contact

You get in touch with us (by contact form, email or call) for a chat about your team’s written communications. You’ll have a consultative conversation (usually on Zoom) with one of our learning specialists, so they can understand the challenges you’re facing and what you want to change or achieve. 

Once they have a clear picture, they’ll advise you on our suggested training approach. They’ll either explain this on the call or come back to you with a proposal by email, depending on the complexity of the project.



> At least four to six weeks ahead of the first training session

If you decide to book live training sessions, we’ll work with you to find delivery dates that suit you and your people. We need at least a four-to-six-week lead time to ensure we can develop effective tailored training materials and collect and analyse the writing samples.


What we'll need from you: Your account manager will ask you to send us examples of relevant company documents that we can use within the training materials. We'll use these examples for the course development, creating exercises and basing illustrative examples on the documents. If the examples are written by someone attending the course, it's important that they know we'll be looking at them in the session. Don't worry, everything is discussed constructively.


Our operations team will email you (or your chosen administrator) with logistical information about the course dates and to confirm delegate details.

If the training is going to be held online, you’ll have the option of running a platform test with one of our team to check everyone’s comfortable with the software and iron out any potential issues.



> Four weeks before the training session

Our operations team will contact the delegates, asking them each to send a sample of their own writing (around 400–500 words). Your group’s expert trainer will analyse these samples – they’ll be feeding back the results individually to each person during the training programme. 

These samples will not be used as part of the training materials or shared with the group at any point.

For live online training, the team will also send each delegate a calendar appointment for their session (unless you prefer to send your own).


What we'll need from you: We'll need confirmed delegate details and your example documents for use in the training materials by this date.


> Two weeks before the training session

This will be the deadline for all attendees to submit their individual samples for analysis. 

(Note: If you are running follow-up coaching clinics after the initial course, the deadline for those samples would be three weeks before the coaching sessions.)



> The week before training

Our operations team will ensure you have the course materials. 

If you’re having in-person training, the team will arrange for the hard-copy materials to be delivered to you four or five days before the course. 

For remote (online) training, they’ll add the digital files to the calendar appointments and resend these to each delegate four working days before the course.



> On your chosen date(s)

We’ll run your training session(s). The trainer will distribute feedback forms to the delegates at the end.



> A day or two after the course

Our operations team will share the feedback and attendance information with you by email. This will usually be the following day. But if we need to nudge any attendees for responses, it can be a day or two later.

If you chose to include access to one of our e-learning courses as part of the training programme, delegates will receive their login information by email.

Your account manager will follow up with you to check you’re happy with how the training went.


During the course, delegates will have the option to sign up to our business-writing e-bulletin. Those who did will receive articles, resources and updates by email, to build up their knowledge and support them as they put their learning into practice. All attendees will also have a year’s access to our email and phone helpdesk.



> Six to twelve weeks after the training session(s)

If you booked coaching clinics as part of your blended programme, we’ll generally run these with your team six to twelve weeks after their training. This gives them the chance to start incorporating what they’ve learned. 

Or if the focus of the course is a document that’s created on a regular cycle, such as a board report, we can time the coaching to help the delegates with their next draft.

If the coaching includes analysis of further writing samples (to compare with pre-training results), these will be due three weeks before the coaching session. Our operations team will be in touch to request the samples as before.

If you don’t initially book coaching for all delegates, you can get back in touch at any time to do so. Individuals will also have the option of booking their own coaching sessions through the website.


‘Emphasis delivered an extremely engaging and bespoke session. The service we received from initial enquiry to post-training review was excellent.’

Rachel Pennington, Shop Direct


‘It was a very good day and an excellent course. And working with Emphasis has been a pleasure and an ease from start to finish.’

Emma Longley, Aviagen

If you’d like to find out about examples of our training in action, have a look at our case studies. And if there’s still more you’d like to know, just drop us a line with your questions. We’d love to hear from you.

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