How to Become a Smarter Writer by Solving Word Puzzles

Which skills are most in demand to meet the challenges of the 21st century?

Trending news reports have led many people to assume that business, government, and nonprofit organizations are primarily interested in hiring and promoting employees with backgrounds in the STEM disciplines. Without question, opportunities for aerospace engineers, computer programmers, physicists, and data analysts will continue to grow in the foreseeable future, as will the use of AI platforms to deal with a range of technological challenges.

But in surveys conducted between 2000 and 2023 by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), communication skills — clear writing and speaking — have been at or near the top of the list of capabilities that employers value most. In the 2005 survey, for example, employers ranked communication skills (verbal and written) as more important than analytical skills, computer skills, GPA, and creativity. Unfortunately, “the number one skill that employers say they want … is the very skill they most often say candidates lack. Many respondents reported that college graduates lack good grammar and writing skills.”

In the NACE’s 2020 survey, researchers found that an enormous gap remained between employers’ needs (“considered essential”) and graduates’ lackluster performance
(“considered proficient’).

The colleges, of course, have consistently blamed the K-12 teachers. What has been widely misunderstood by educators at all levels, from grade school through graduate school, is how the nature of work has changed since the dawning of the Age of the Internet. Today, regardless of their job titles, professionals in the workplace are spending most of their day engaged in fundamental literacy activities. They are sitting in front of their computers, reading and writing all day long. For those workers, writing is not an academic exercise. It’s their job.

The kind of writing that business, government, and nonprofit organizations need has nothing to do with self-expression or creativity or displaying an extensive vocabulary. They need people who have learned how to translate good ideas into plain English: clear, direct, grammatical sentences and well-organized paragraphs that are easy to follow.

The free, 60-minute How to Become a Smarter Writer class is a lively, interesting introduction to understanding how the English language works. We will begin by taking a close look at the four fundamental sentence patterns that skilled professional writers and editors in the publishing industry rely on to communicate clearly with their readers. Participants will learn how to treat sentences as word puzzles — and how to solve writing problems by putting the pieces together.

How to Join the Free 60-Minute Online Class

The 60-minute online class is available for both organizations and individuals. If you are interested in receiving more information about the free class (or about any of the other courses offered on the Write Smart website), please complete the form below:

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