Whether you are a manager at any level, programme specialist or coordination officer, much depends on your ability to write reports, draft project proposals, prepare substantive papers and communicate effectively with colleagues and partners.

This hands-on course develops your sensitivity to language, structure, content and audience and offers practical techniques to improve your skills to influence and achieve results through clear and effective writing.



Upon successful completion of this course, participants will:

  • Apply pre-writing strategies and basic linguistic considerations to write a first draft with a clear sense of direction and voice;
  • Draft text that a reader needs to read once, and only once, and can understand fully and easily;
  • Review and revise work to ensure that it is organizationally sound, structurally coherent, linguistically concise, grammatically accurate and visually appealing;
  • Draft consistently professional and reader-friendly emails.

Course Methodology

Course Methodology: 

This course is delivered entirely online in both synchronous and asynchronous modes. It combines webinar learning with self-paced components.

The webinar learning consists of weekly instructor-led online sessions, conducted in the Adobe Connect platform with toll and toll-free numbers for the audio component. No special software is required; participants only need an internet connection and a telephone to participate.

Personalized feedback in the weekly activities give participants specific tips to improve. Live discussions with a writing expert and UN colleagues apply clear writing approaches to participants’ day-to-day context.

Course Contents

Course Contents: 

Week 1: Effective document drafting - process and getting started (Identifying the purpose and main messages; Knowing your reader; Gathering, developing and organizing your ideas; Starting the first draft - avoiding bureaucratic language, circumlocutions and unnecessary words)

Week 2: Effective document drafting - the linguistic jungle (The power of verbs versus nouns; recognizing and avoiding the passive voice; Parallelism in sentences and in lists; Sentence variety)

Week 3: Effective document drafting - dense, denser, densest (Too many ideas in a sentence; Calculating and rectifying sentence density; Compression versus decompression; Simplifying sentences and ideas without comprising professionalism)

Week 4: Reviewing and revising your work (The three "waves” of revision; Strength of key message(s); Presence/absence of appropriate content; Sequential logic; Structural coherence and effectiveness; Sentence conciseness and ease of reading; Proofreading techniques; Format consistency; Visual devices for reader ease)

Week 5: Drafting and managing email correspondence (Internal vs. external communication; Appropriate openings and closings; Organizing multiple or complex information; Conveying information in a positive tone; "Me” versus "You” approaches to email communication; Promoting closed correspondence; Alternative means of communication; Stemming the flood of emails; Fundamental email etiquette).

Target Audience

Target Audience: 

All UN personnel (P and GS staff) at headquarters and field locations, organized in class groups catering to needs and interests

Cost of participation

Cost of participation: 

The course fee of 1,250 USD covers full participation in the online course. 

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