The USDA Forest Service recently brought The Writing Workshop to its Albuquerque New Mexico headquarters for a two-day Persuasive Writing Workshop.

The Forest Service agents who attended the workshop serve the public as representatives for the agency. Most are responsible for writing responses to damage or injury claims submitted to the agency from people who visit national forests. Since many of these claims are complex and involve sensitive legal and insurance-related topics, the agents must reply with carefully-worded, well-thought-out response letters.

The agency hired John Sturtevant to show its agents how to think analytically about their topics, organize their ideas, and write logical and persuasive letters on the Forest Service’s behalf.

Bryan Hart, Manager of External Quality Assurance liked what he learned in the full-day workshop. “It is an eye-opening course!” he said. “It provides valuable insight on writing and thinking skills. The material is very thought provoking… I’m confident I can apply this so the people who read my reports and letters will understand my points.”
 
Most of the participants said the workshop gave them a refreshing new perspective on business writing – that it doesn’t have to be dry, boring, and complex.

“Four Gold Stars!” said Kim Gachupin, a USDA Claims Supervisor. “It was very well-planned. I will definitely use the techniques I learned, thank you!”

Many participants complained that working for  a government agency often compels them to write in bureaucratic language – a style so confusing and vague that they can’t even read their own letters. So when they discovered a better way, there was great enthusiasm among the participants.

Here are a few comments from the attendees:

“Engaging. It made me look at writing in a new light”

“Great workshop! I have new insight about what my reader wants.”

“Wow. A single sentence for each idea…I’m definitely going to use that!”

“I learned how to write simply and clearly…I’ve been looking for that for years.”

“The brainstorming and outlining techniques are great…makes me feel I can organize my thinking.”

“This was very good…thought provoking and inspiring…you taught me how to think before writing.”

The Writing Workshop shows business people how to communicate their ideas clearly and persuasively –– without the jargon and complexity so common in most business writing. These agents from the USDA Forest Services discovered that’s exactly what they’ve been trying to do, but they lacked the concepts and techniques to do it. Until now.

About the USDA Forest Service
The Forest Service was established in 1905 as an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Forest Service manages more than 193 million acres of public lands, national forests, and grasslands. The Forest Service is also the largest forestry research organization in the world, and provides technical and financial assistance to state and private forestry agencies.