Written Communications: Being Heard and Understood
Allison Friederichs Atkison is the president of ROI Training Solutions, which provides consulting, training, and speaking services in the areas of how the adult brain learns and professional communication skills. She earned her PhD in Communication Studies from the University of Denver. She is a former Associate Teaching Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Denver, University College, where she taught communications courses for more than 20 years and earned the Master Teacher designation for continued professional development.
Allison works collaboratively with trainers and instructors to teach brain-based training and education tactics. Her science-backed techniques leverage knowledge about how the adult brain learns to ensure that learning is actually taking place—regardless of the learner or context. She is an expert trainer of professional communication skills, most often focusing on professional writing skills. Her clients look to her to help them solve the inefficiencies created by poor communication skills among employees and teams.
Allison’s clients have consisted of organizations in the public, private, and academic sectors, including Marsh McLennan, Pinnacol Assurance, American Innovations, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Denver Public Library, the Douglas County (Colorado) Government, the University of the Pacific, the Montana University System, the Association for Graduate Enrollment Management, and the Association for Continuing Higher Education. She has been published in academic and trade publications, including UNBOUND, TD magazine, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
01: Impactful Writing
Get an introduction to what makes your writing matter and learn how to employ empathy in order to shift your perspective, so you are focusing on your reader not your message. Professor Friederichs provides engaging activities to help you improve your writing skills.
02: How Language Mirrors Culture
Starting with an overview of the descriptive/prescriptive debate, Professor Friederichs examines how language has changed and evolved—and why knowing about these changes matters when you write—highlighting the importance of syntax.
03: The Importance of Word Choice
Continuing the discussion of language and words, Professor Friederichs reviews the two levels of meaning that every word has: denotation and connotation. She provides a framework called “The Four C’s” to help you select the right word, so your message is correct, concrete, clear, and contextually appropriate.
04: Mastering Punctuation
Proper punctuation may seem challenging, but as Professor Friederichs notes, it can make or break your professional message. She provides clarity for the most misunderstood rules of punctuation, including issues around commas, semicolons, quotation marks, and dashes, as applied to Edited Standard American English (ESAE).
05: Mastering Noun and Pronoun Grammar
Professor Friederichs moves from commonly misunderstood components of grammar to more formal rules, including capitalization issues with proper nouns, subject-verb agreement, pronouns, possessives, and dangling and misplaced modifiers.
06: Mastering Verb and Adverb Grammar
Grammar can also help determine the mood of your communication. Professor Friederichs demonstrates how as she covers verb usage, including passive and active voice, tense, and adverbs. You’ll see how mastering these seemingly small components can have a big impact on the success of your message.
07: Analyze: What Your Reader Needs to Know
Professor Friederichs introduces you to the business-writing process called ACE, which stands for Analyze, Craft, and Edit. She details the analysis phase of ACE—including a checklist—to help you organize your thoughts and write with purpose.
08: Craft: Building the Bones of Your Document
Examine the best practices for drafting a document as Professor Friederichs introduces additional checklists to help you transcribe your purpose statement, craft the body of your message, and draft your conclusion. She provides a helpful toolkit of eight best practices that will help you craft a well-written draft.
09: Edit: Perfecting Your Prose
Learn how the editing step of the ACE process does not mean proofreading, but instead ensuring you are analyzing your document to confirm it says what you want it to say, in a structured, clear, and concise manner. A checklist for editing helps you review your document for organization, clarity, proper word choice, grammar, and punctuation.
10: Applying the Analyze-Craft-Edit Process
Using two common, real-life examples, Professor Friederichs demonstrates ways to practice applying the ACE process. As she takes you through the construction of business memos and newsletter articles, you’ll put all your previous lessons into practice.
11: Developing Your Professional Voice
As you move closer to mastering the fundamentals of professional communications, Professor Friederichs provides ways to help you develop your professional writing voice. She provides a list of ideas that can help you achieve consistency in your writing, as well as activities to help you utilize the tools and practice the skills you’ve gained.
12: Building Relationships through Writing
Professor Friederichs demonstrates how you can build strong relationships through your communication—including the importance of your responses to another person’s writing. You’ll learn how to build strong professional relationships by being a good listener and utilizing a collaborative approach in writing.