Writing Effective Policies and Procedures Training

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Writing policies and procedures is a challenge, even for the experienced technical writer. In order for any organization to function properly, policies and procedures must be clearly written. They need to be accurate, brief, and easy to comprehend. When written correctly, policies and procedures can save time, eliminate frustration, and increase efficiency. This two-day workshop will incorporate the client's existing documents for hands-on review through large group, small group, and individual exercises.

Topics Include

  • Knowing the difference between technical and narrative writing
  • Following the four steps of development
  • Writing with greater clarity and precision
  • Avoiding ambiguities
  • Identifying what readers need to know vs. what they want to know
  • Determining the appropriate level of detail
  • Recognizing words to avoid
  • Organizing material within an established format/template
  • Designing documents for visual appeal
  • Creating an error-free document
  • Understanding five different types of review
  • Addressing resistance to new policies
  • Organizing material for procedure writing
  • Effective wording for conditional statements
  • Writing conditional statements

Seminar Tips

  • One of the best ways to engage readers is by telling them what they NEED to know along with what they WANT to know. When a new policy or procedure is introduced, readers are often resistant to change. Increase buy-in by answering anticipated questions before they are asked.
  • Writing effective policies and procedures by a team of writers can present special challenges. How can you save time and reduce lengthy discussions and meetings? One way is to establish some ground rules in advance such as deadlines, areas of responsibilities, and a style guide, all of which can greatly reduce friction that may arise.
  • Formatting can go along way to increase readability. Primary formats such as a narrative or an outline can be improved when secondary formats such as a Q and A section or a matrix table are embedded in the document.

Who should attend?

  • Subject matter experts who are writing policies and procedures for the first time
  • Technicians who must document familiar procedures
  • Writers who currently are writing policies and procedures and want to improve their skills
  • Engineers, scientists, computer specialists, and medical professionals who document objectives for protocols, including deviations, and standard operating procedures (SOPs)

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers provided by our Writing Effective Policies and Procedures trainer, Catherine S. Hibbard

Q. What's the difference between a policy and a procedure?

A. One way to differentiate between the two is that policies deal with the "what" and the "why" and procedures deal with the "how."

Q. That makes sense. How else are they different?

A. Policies are guidelines that regulate organizational activities. They can also be described as a type of position statement, explaining the organization's stand on a subject and why there is a rule about it.

Q. Why is it so difficult to write policies?

A. Sometimes writing policy statements is a challenge because they can be broad in nature, general in wording, and ambiguous.

Q. Can you give an example of a policy statement that is too general?

A. Absolutely. Company ABC has this policy statement on their Web site: We believe in providing our customers with the best customer service in our entire industry.

Q. How could that statement be improved?

A. Most readers would respond by thinking, "Okay. How do you do that?" The statement lacks specificity. If I were a customer, I would like to know how the outstanding service will be delivered.

Q. Is this where procedures comes into play?

A. Yes. Procedures are the normal method of handling things. They are protocols for implementation—the "how to." Procedures are action based and outline the steps you expect people to take and the sequence to follow. Frequently, they point out the consequences of failure to comply (e.g., damage, loss, injury, discipline).

Q. What should writers keep in mind when writing procedures?

A. Clearly written procedures are specific.

Q: Can you suggest some Internet resources related to writing policies and procedures

A: Yes. Click on the links below to find additional valuable information on technical writing to help in writing policies and procedures.

Technical Communication Center
Technical communication and writing tips, trends, tutorials, and free ezine by a Fortune 500 tech writer
I Heart Technical Writing
Practical advice on developing a successful career as a technical writer

Client Testimonials

"I would like you to know that your last class had a definite impact on how we write our policies and procedures. Your efforts resulted in direct improvement. Sometimes I don't see this with training, and we appreciate this. You made a difference. We were impressed with the quality and quantity of the material covered in this course. More importantly, this course has triggered a dialog on our team about specific measures and strategies to improve the overall look and content of our policies. I would highly recommend that this course for those involved in policy and procedure development."Team Leader - Center for Disease Control and Prevention
"Catherine did a great job with the training. The class was engaging and the time went by quickly. I consider this one of the better training classes that I was able to be a part of at this company. The material and organized and relevant and Catherine knew her material. Please bring her back again to offer this training to others."Manager - Research and Development Division

Technical Writing Training Clients

Government Clients

  • Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Emory University
  • EPA New England
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • Fort Dix
  • Fort Shafter
  • Fulton County, Georgia
  • General Services Administration
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Hickam Air Force Base
  • Kennesaw State University
  • Kennedy Space Center
  • Lackland Air Force Base
  • NASA John C. Stennis Space Center
  • NASA Johnson Space Center
  • NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
  • National Nuclear Security Administration
  • Naval Surface Warfare Center
  • New Mexico State University
  • Oakland Housing Authority
  • Office of Personnel Management
  • Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
  • Saudi Food and Drug Authority
  • Social Security Administration
  • U. S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command
  • U. S. Department of Education
  • U.S. Health & Human Services
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • United States Department of Agriculture

Corporate Clients

  • AGCO
  • Air Techniques, Inc
  • Archer Daniels Midland
  • AdminaStar Federal
  • Banner Pharmaceuticals
  • Brockington and Associates
  • CIBA Vision
  • Citrix Systems
  • Cleveland Cliffs
  • Cordis Neurovascular
  • Cordis Regulatory Affairs
  • Cytec Industries
  • D. A. Stuart
  • Delmarva Foundation
  • Detroit Job Corps Center
  • DuPont
  • EarthLink
  • EKA Chemicals
  • Elan Pharmaceuticals
  • Goodrich Aerostructures
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Hyundai-Kia America Technology Center
  • Isis Pharmaceuticals
  • Jordan, Jones & Goulding
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Kilpatrick Stockton LLP
  • L3 Communications
  • Leroy Somer
  • The Lewin Group
  • Lowe's
  • Loudon Water
  • Luminant
  • Manhattan Associates
  • Maxim Healthcare
  • Millennium Engineering
  • Modern Technology Solutions
  • MSDSonline
  • Nestl´┐Ż Purina
  • Northrop Grumman
  • OpalSoft
  • Port Authority of NY/NJ
  • Portland General Electric
  • PPG Industries
  • Prudential Financial
  • RTKL Associates
  • San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino
  • Schilling Robotics
  • Sikorsky
  • S1 Corporation
  • TIC Gums
  • Vanderlande Industries
  • ViaSat
  • Verizon Federal Markets
  • Verizon Wireless

Schedule This Training

For groups of 3 or more participants

Cypress Media Group presents this seminar as an on-site offering at your work location or at an off-site location of your choice. We can customize this training program to suit your precise training needs.

For economic reasons, this seminar is only offered to groups of roughly three or more people with the same training needs. If you have a group with similar training needs, please call us at 770-640-9918 or E-mail to discuss your interest.

For fewer than 3 participants

We do not offer this course as an open enrollment public offering for individuals. If you have fewer than three participants who are interested in this course, the cost will be the same as for a larger group.

Please call us at 770-640-9918 or E-mail to discuss your interest.

About the Instructor

Catherine Hibbard

Catherine S. Hibbard is a nationally recognized expert in business and technical writing. She conducts training seminars in technical and business writing, writing effective policies and procedures, and proofreading/editing.

Ms. Hibbard's client base, which is diverse and impressive, draws from both corporations and government agencies such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), several NASA centers, and numerous military branches. Her corporate clients include Nestlé Purina, Verizon, and Northrop Grumman to name just a few. She has been awarded contracts for large training initiatives with the Office of Professional Management (OPM), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Most Influential in Techcomm

Catherine was ranked 15th on The Top 100 Influencers in #Techcomm bloggers list in 2014.

She can be reached by e-mail at catherine@cypressmedia.net.

Connect to her on Linkedin.