Welcome to CDC’s NCEH/ATSDR Clear Writing Hub!Posted on by
Part 2: Training and Advocacy
Are you a writer? Most people would quickly answer, “No!” But think about it: do you ever write any of the following?
- Emails or texts
- Complaint letters
- Teacher notes
- Condolence notes
- Social media posts or comments
- Job reports
If you regularly use these common methods of communication, aren’t you a writer?
Build your Clear Writing Confidence
Although we realize when writing is hard to read, we may not understand why—or how to write clearly ourselves. If you must write occasionally, wouldn’t you like to know how to communicate effectively?
The National Center for Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (NCEH/ATSDR) create a variety of health and science materials from website content to factsheets to videos to scientific articles. Because we share our expertise with audiences who may not be familiar with the scientific language and concepts, we work hard to communicate clearly. Now some of the same tools we use are available for anyone who wants to improve their writing skills and have more confidence when using them.
The previous post in this series focused on the environmental health thesaurus, writing guides, and testing tools on our Clear Writing Hub. This post shares two more features: the training modules and clear writing advocacy tools.
Many businesses and organizations hire trainers to teach their employees how to write more effectively. However, bringing in an expert may not be an option; training or webinars can be expensive and time-consuming. The Clear Writing Hub offers three free training modules to use at your convenience to train yourself and your staff to write clearly.
Before You Write: Get to Know Your Audience and Identify Your Main Message
This module helps you focus on understanding your purpose and your specific audience. It teaches you how to decide what your audience needs and wants, how they feel, and how to connect with them. It even helps you understand the difference between what’s nice to know and what your audience needs to know.
Get to the Point
The second module helps you create writing that people actually want to read. How often do you pass up an interesting article or website simply because the amount of writing overwhelms you? This section will help you tighten up your writing by using active voice and avoiding jargon and hidden verbs. It also shows you how to keep your materials focused on your main message.
Make It Shine: Focus on Format and Layout
The final module demonstrates how specific layouts can make reading easier for your audience. It covers formatting decisions from the overall design of your document to the font and colors you use. It explains how chunks, headers, and bullets help your readers understand your points and follow your reasoning.
The Hub also connects you to other CDC training, as well as free writing training developed by the National Institutes of Health and the Federal Aviation Administration.
This section of the Clear Writing Hub offers materials to help you develop a small-scale, low-cost campaign to promote clear writing and to teach your colleagues easy ways to improve their writing. The campaign includes printable materials: educational table tents for break rooms and lobby areas, full-size posters, flyers, and a job aid.
The tutorial provides an infographic focusing on the importance of clear communication and the essentials of clear writing. The tutorial teaches you facts to make the case for clear writing in your organization or workplace. It also connects you to a variety of training resources available from CDC and provides access to a free continuing education course addressing health literacy, limited English proficiency, and cultural differences.
Spread the Word
The Clear Writing Hub training and advocacy materials can help you personally, of course, but they are also useful for promoting clear writing and developing writing skills in your workplace or organization. If your organization needs guidance and training materials, take advantage of these free services.
And don’t forget to revisit our blog for the final post on our Clear Writing Hub. We’ll close this series by telling you about our tool for writing and publishing a scientific journal article.