Episode #183: Erin Lebacqz

Dana GoodierOut of the Trenches Podcast

Erin Lebacqz has been teaching writing for over 25 years. Her clients include business and non-profit organizations in the United States and around the world. Her new book High-Value Writing: Real Strategies for Real-World Writing helps business writers boost their confidence by writing clearly, concisely, and with intention. Empowering others to use their voice with confidence drives me to teach. Since 1998, she has worked with all levels of writers in both business and academic settings, helping learners take charge of their writing. In today’s remote work environment, we use our writing to both inform and connect. She finds joy in helping others build relationships and convey both information and empathy through clear, relational writing. Her classes and presentations are active, engaging, full of practical examples, and often humorous.

Trenches story: she taught HS then college. She taught multiple univ. sections. Decided to teach as a solo contractor. She went solo a few years before Covid, she taught face-to-face. She had 1 client she’d had on the side before. Main piece of advice is that many companies, non-profits have a dept named “Learning & Development” dept.

How can writers at a particular listener’s school make purposeful writing choices to connect across cultures? ESL teachers- how much context is polite, tone, etc. Courtesy, hierarchy. With an ELL population, we have to think about cultural differences in writing, either direct or formal.

Emotional stuff that comes through in work writing. How to use this in a day-to-day world with real people/relationships? It’s hard to balance all that. It’s hard to be direct & clear but also friendly. It’s adjusting how we can have enough emotion to not be personal. In workplace write objectively. You can express it in slightly different way.

In terms of young people who have IT-business and want to get more clients, they should think about who their audience/goal is. Think about being agile. Image the person you’re writing to.

How can writing be a valuable tool to use across the curriculum/courses at a particular listener’s school? WAC- Writing across the curriculum programs are expanding. If you teach woodshop, think about the business side. How to write to potential clients? What would that type of writing be?

How can students be prepared for post-secondary options and being able to present themselves well in a professional setting? In HS, we’re used to writing social posts, in class it’s just for 1 reason (what the t said). In HS you have the assignment, rubric. When kids are writing college essays, we have to think about it’s a different situation- think about the other person more than yourself. Structure it around their needs.

How can employers help educate and support staff through writing training-writing with clear & plain language- Many people enter the workforce without feeling confident about their writing. Potentially really worried about emails. Good ways to do it- #1 talk about our writing. Get together & discuss how to make emails easier to read. Think about realities they’re facing. Also include this training in leadership development programs.

How can teachers help model writing with students? When we show rubrics, some included content, length, ideas, grammar. We don’t always consider the reader. Create scenarios as teacher that imitate real life. Mock experiential learning. Model thinking that goes into writing. That’s where it’s at. How to better communicate.

Self-empowering students through writing for various audiences and as a result helping them gain better Emotional Intelligence/workplace skills? She encourages ppl to learn the values of others. Relational writing/writing EQ. Analyze things like their generation/culture.

What surprises people who are new in the workforce about what they may be expected to know in writing skills/experience of doing it? Almost every class she teaches- people say I was raised to write for a word count. Noone wants to read long descriptions. At work, we consider briefer, capture the attention of the client.

Role/reversal the reader hosting the writer- how can we be a good host? anytime we’re writing unless it’s our notes/journal it’s for others. Writer is host to the reader. Best case scenario writer does the work first. Navigation clues, headings, bullets, etc.

How can we write clear and actionable emails, getting to the point? Actionable- in school we rarely write about writing for action. Someone needs to do something with it in school. 3 easy steps, 1 sentence that says main pt. Jot down notes, who, what, when where why. 2- call to action sentence. Tell them their part. How to donate, f. ex. Strong verb. 3rd step- 2-part subject line- use colon.

Key quotes? There is no 1 right way to write. No 1 authority. It’s the situation. Email, text, clients are different styles. Click To Tweet

Find Erin online: https://www.linkedin.com/in/erinlebacqz/   YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDdx6ZE7SgVCTG1t1KMDjeQ  https://www.instagram.com/highvaluewriting/ You can by her book on Amazon. Email her at:erin@highvaluewriting.com

On her website is a self-paced class www.highvaluewriting.com

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ddS420ReO2w

I am excited to announce that I will be at the 2022 Teach Better Conference this October 14-15 in Akron, OH. I’ll be recording episodes live, attending sessions, and connecting with a whole bunch of amazing educators. It would be awesome if you could join us! Head over to www.teachbetterconference.com/register and use code outofthetrenches to save $50 off your 2-day registration. I hope I see you in October!


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