I attended your Business Writing Skills course recently. It has been an absolute blessing! My stakeholders are getting much more concise and effective emails from me. It has also reduced the time I spend writing my emails. I can confidently say that this is the most valuable course I’ve ever taken in my 20 year career in banking.
For a testimonial, I can honestly say it was one of the best courses I have ever been on and I have found many practical uses in my working life. By using plain language and purposeful headings, I find that clients can easily understand what is required of them, and it also takes me less time to refresh myself when I need to refer back to what I have written. Thanks for all your help.
Relationship Banker – Corporate Banking
Institutional & Business Services
Spoke to my manager about the document and he said it was probably one of the best, if not the best, renewal report that he has seen to date. When I mentioned I had followed your advice from the workshop, he was surprised but pleased that the training had been worthwhile and a successful exercise for me to undertake.
I found the sessions to be very informative and the skills learnt very valuable. I have appreciated the opportunity to work with Sue and am already finding writing far easier and more enjoyable. I have also found that the skills Sue has taught me are very useful when reviewing delegates’ work.
Just wanted to say thanks for meeting me early for the individual session. I spent the rest of the day drafting an advice and the techniques of effective writing were just that – very effective. I feel much more confident. So thanks for your help – once again, it was immediately effective!
I thoroughly enjoyed the session and was able to walk away from the session having gained several useful techniques. In fact, I was able to apply these techniques to a paper that I had to write four weeks later. As I had never written a position paper before, I was extremely grateful for the practical techniques that we had covered during training. What was of particular value, is that the training course actually used a real and meaningful example (eg another colleague’s position paper). As a result of reviewing and assessing that paper, I was able to easily apply key Do(s) and Don’t(s) to my own paper.
Feedback from participants was excellent. Particularly the following:
Human Resources Advisor
Your writing course was one of the two really great courses I’ve attended in my career. Although the course was primarily about writing, I also use the skills and frameworks I learned to decide what is and isn’t relevant and crystallise the issues and the recommendations I make. I can get to the key points without getting bogged down in minutia. I also follow the framework when scoping reports. Clients have said I save them time during the scoping phase. Clients have also told me that my new approach to writing helps them clarify the issues at hand and makes my recommendations ‘a lot clearer’. They also say the approach is now customer-focused: I now consciously write for the reader. Also, I’m using much plainer, clearer and more concise language. I am also now able to write succinct executive summaries. I believe the quality of my summaries also saves the executives in my business time. They are free to focus only on the key points and can avoid drilling down into the detail. I have brought the skills with me to my new role and they’re being very well received.
Strategic Analyst – Treasury
I think this process is and has been very worthwhile, and is a substantial value-adding experience for the company and its writers.
We engaged Sue Tomat of Paragon (now GumLeafGreen) last year to deliver an Effective Writing Skills workshop for staff of the Portfolio Services Division of Queensland Treasury. For some time we’d been concerned about the quality of the written material being prepared, in particular the bureaucratic style and language staff consistently used in their correspondence and briefing notes. Instead of spending so much time editing documents and converting them to plain English it was decided to invest in some training. When looking for a suitable program, we were particularly keen to find a process that would encourage staff to apply their learning to their everyday work once they came out of the classroom. (Too often with training you don’t see the translation between the learning and the application.) The one-on-one coaching that came after the workshop was an essential element in the process which delivered some impressive results. The training was rated very highly by the staff and the quality of their written material has definitely improved as a result.
I have just finished the ‘Effective Writing & Drafting Skills’ workshop held over the last 2 mornings. I just wanted to let you know that I thought it was a really useful session (I think one of the most helpful workshops I have been to). It was very practical which meant that we had a chance to do plenty of short exercises to put into practice some of the skills Sue Tomat was showing us. A lot of the skills Sue showed us were things that I am often told to do and know I am supposed to use, but have not necessarily known how to implement. I also thought that the structure (2 half days) was good because we were fresh for the whole time (rather than getting weary by the end of one long day) and it was also easier to manage getting away from the work demands for a half day than a whole day.
I just wanted to thank you again for your time in providing my team with a very useful course on effective Business Writing. The feedback has been excellent. This style of course is an excellent tool for developing my team’s business skills and will also assist them in their career development.
Team Leader – Server Development & Administration
Technology and Information Services
Just to let you know that I had some feedback from a client on Sue’s writing technique – he called me on the matter generally and made a point of saying that our advice was very clear and easy to read.
I thoroughly enjoyed the learning experience gained and would recommend the course to anyone. This is due to Sue who is an excellent coach and mentor. Thanks again, Sue. Very much appreciated.
Planning and Reporting Manager
I attended your writing and drafting course last week and just received some feedback on my writing that I thought I would share with you. I was asked to prepare a letter of advice for a client. This was the first opportunity I had since I attended your course to put your techniques into practice. The FOG for the letter was 12.9 and the feedback from the Senior Associate in our group was that the ‘letter was excellent, spot on….and very user friendly.’ I was very happy (although surprised) with the feedback as I don’t usually get comments on my written work. I am now sold on the benefits of using your writing techniques and am spreading the word!
Thank you for a highly informative and constructive session this morning. I really appreciated how you delivered it using lessons you had personally learnt and the ‘handrails not handcuffs’ approach. You conveyed ‘if only I had been aware of this sooner’, as opposed to ‘I always did it and you must do it this way’. I, and I am sure others, left the session inspired to take a fresh approach. I put it into practice straight away.
Sue Tomat ran two workshops on tender writing skills with our professional staff. The firm had not prepared many tenders before and needed to learn new skills in this area. Within two months of completing the final session, the firm had won two important tenders – one in the private sector and one in public sector. The public sector bid was for an organisation that had had no prior relationship with our firm. We were appointed solely on the merits of our tender document. I believe that the training Sue did with our firm had significant impact on the quality of our bids and therefore, also on our future bottom line. Sue is a pleasure to work with and her training is very reasonably priced. I highly recommend her training.
I have been receiving an embarrassing number of unsolicited client emails about how clear and helpful my advice has been!
Thank you for yesterday – I found the Business Writing program very useful. The delivery was clear and professional and I walked away with some great tips for improving my writing.
I just want to say thank you for the session you took last Wednesday at Maddocks. Immediately after the session I edited an advice I had been working on and gave it to my boss for his review. He gave it back to me this morning and asked whether I had copied a precedent. I said that this one was ‘all my own work’ to which he replied ‘it’s very good’. If you knew my boss, this is a MASSIVE compliment for him and I think that at least some of the credit should be given to you for such a useful session on plain English. So, thank you very much.
Great material and a standout facilitator. Thanks for your attention to detail and conduct of the course, it was very well appreciated by those who attended.
Your thinking has been a game changer.
Undoubtedly the best short course I have had the pleasure of attending in recent years.
It is wonderful to work with someone so committed to seeing the learning applied and continuing to support the firm’s writing culture.
Consultant – Learning and Development
The ‘complaints handling – effective writing’ training that you provided to us in November last year has had a great impact on our business – so much so that staff who attended are now using the skills you gave in nearly every written external communication we issue!
Senior Legal & Compliance Manager
You’ll be pleased to hear I have had success with your techniques in letter writing. I was inspired after our training session to go and rewrite all our client correspondence. I’ve also received some positive feedback – a client wrote back to me to express her gratitude after I wrote to her with a resolution to her complaint!
Thank you for opening my eyes up to the concept of using simple vocabulary to maximise the effectiveness of my communication. In the time I was there, I learnt more in 90 minutes than I usually would in 3 hours. Ironically, while law is meant to improve my written and verbal communication skills, it has actually made them extremely inefficient. This is what I promptly realised at the seminar’s conclusion.
It is very rare that I come across someone with the ability to instantly create rapport with such a diverse range of people, while at the same time, being so natural in the way they communicate. I have always advocated the skills of rapport-building and effective communication as being the two most important factors to someone’s future success and I genuinely think you have mastered both of these skills.
I have been trying to immediately implement the skills you taught us at the workshop but I am instinctively falling back in to a style of communication characterised by complicated and flowery language (as you can probably tell from this email). With time, I hope to reach your level of proficiency in verbal and written communication.
Once again, I want to thank you for such an enjoyable workshop and for highlighting the fact that over-complicated vocabulary is more of a sign of ‘insecurity’ than it is intelligence.
Commerce Law student
Thanks for shaping the way I communicate at work (across 3 different organisations and 2 different countries now). Time with you is absolutely invaluable for any organisation . Forever grateful!
The course was easy to understand and using our own experiences meant that we relate to it better. I was able to apply these principals straight away – it’s like seeing the matrix! Once you understand the principles it’s easy to make the changes. I used these principles in a presentation document recently and received positive feedback for it. Thank you Sue, I appreciate the learnings.
Quick message to say thank you (again!) for your amazing courses run through [law firm] last year. I am on a plain English crusade through our online Ts&Cs and have been receiving very positive feedback from my stakeholders within the business. I will be interested to see if the number of complaints or disputes we receive in response to the Ts&Cs drops in the coming months now that they’re clearer.
Thanks for the presentation you did today. It was mind-blowing to say the least!
Your programmes have been a huge success with lots of positive feedback. Based on the feedback received, I am reassured that this was a good initiative and worthwhile investment for the Company.
Director, Human Resources
I have really enjoyed your course and would highly recommend to anyone who needs to communicate!!
Manager Risk Strategy & Enablement
We met when you ran a training course for [ASX100 company] employees many years ago. Most impactful course I have ever done. Your name came up recently when I was speaking to [Special Counsel] from [top tier Australian law firm] who is a friend of mine. Know you change people’s lives as you did mine.
National Operations Manager
I sent an email to the Project Director to approve 5 complex variations. Took me over 1.5hrs to write. He approved within 2 minutes of sending. When I thanked him for the quick reply his response was: ‘Great email that’s why I can approve in 2 seconds’.
Proof that what you teach is FANTASTIC!! I am recommending this course to all my work colleagues.
Project Design Manager
The program continues to be extremely well received with anecdotal evidence that a big difference has been seen in quality of documentation being submitted to the Risk Committees team.
Risk Strategy & Transformation
Interviewer: So if we think ten years back to your first day in the current role while acknowledging that you were already working for Westpac, what advice would you have given yourself on that first day?
Rebecca Lim: A couple of things. The first is a lesson that I learned through an external partner, Sue Tomat, and that is when you’re giving advice, writing board or executive papers, or giving presentations, switch from what is called writer’s logic to reader’s logic. Writer’s logic is the way you think about things. Reader’s logic is putting yourself in the shoes of your reader. It’s a really good technique when you’re preparing advice or a presentation to sit down and go through the discipline of anticipating the areas of concern or questions from the board, for example, and making sure the content is framed around that, rather than, say, including a long section on the background of the issue.
It’s thinking very logically about how to cut right to the chase and addressing the critical issues. So I think that is actually a really neat way of reframing the perspective and it’s a very good way of helping yourself be more effective.
Extract from interview of Rebecca Lim, leader of Westpac’s legal function globally, Group General Counsel and Enterprise Executive at Westpac since 2011
Definitely the best pack we have ever produced and the Board were very complimentary on how it came forward.
Thank you – thank you – thank you !! I’m just starting my board report this very minute. I did make notes this morning but this is better. Thank you for your guidance.
Thank you for your efforts in running this training for the business. Your clarity, energy and knowledge on this has been fantastic. The fact that you made the effort to workshop an actual paper really hit the mark for us.
Thanks for what you do.
Head of Direct and Self-Managed Superannuation Funds
Thank you for running the international webinar. As always, we have received great feedback on the session and our international and interstate teams were really grateful to have the opportunity to participate in the session. One participant has commented that they have noticed an improvement within the first week!
Backing is given to people who earn it. You deserve success due to your professionalism. You are good – it’s that simple!
Divisional Executive Director
Thank you for the magnificent services you provide to [our law firm] – you are the consummate professional. We love working with you.
Partner responsible for visual communication initiative
Thank you so much for your time yesterday! I learnt a lot.
I had to make a presentation to a group in North America this morning and I took on board your idea around canvasing the audience for questions at the beginning. So, I started the presentation by saying that I had some slides that I could go through, but wanted to first check with the audience as to whether there were any particular questions that they had that should address as part of the presentation.
The response was no – but they appreciated being asked and if it was okay, they would ask questions as we went along – which is what happened.
The presentation went down very, very well. FYI, [team members] were also on the presentation and they thought it went well also.
Outcome is that they want to discuss partnering with the NDH.
Director / Founder
I would sincerely like to thank you for your guidance and advice in helping us formulate our tender response. A number of your tender recommendations have also been incorporated into some of our more recent tender responses in which we have also been successful.
I want to give a note of thanks for the excellent advice and training you gave on the Consult Australia FutureNet Business Leaders course. My team was announced as the winner at the awards night, and you were [one of] the two key course presenters who made that a possibility. So thank you – I learnt a great deal and had a lot of fun.
Congratulations on a workshop exceptionally well facilitated and coordinated. Your management and facilitation of the day was superb.
An excellent workshop, with precise and relevant examples. Have sat in more ‘workshops’ that I care to count, but yours have always been the most professional, most organised and most flexible – and the most valuable.
Manager Strategic Communications
I just wanted to drop you a quick email to say thanks for the great session this morning. The material was relevant and presented in an extremely professional and user-friendly way. Having sat through countless ‘professional’ presentations over the years I can confidently say that your presentation skills are some of the best I have seen.
I found the session very useful not only for managing a team but also in understanding my client relationships and how I interact with people with different styles.
Director – Private Wealth Management
Thanks for deciding to master your craft. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to come across people like you who strive to help others reach the next level.
I have really appreciated Sue’s well-tailored style and gentle style. It was just the sort of training I needed to build confidence / develop techniques at this stage.