Full Circle Communications

September 2015
Be a Better Freelancer
September 25 & 26

Nailing a new niche. Making Word work for you. Finding new clients and keeping the ones you have.

These are some of the great sessions planned for the 10th annual Be a Better Freelancer conference later this month--Sept. 25-26, in Rochester, NY.

Go to the conference website for more information or to register.

Hope to see you there (I am a presenter)--and please pass the word on to others.
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ease in writing?
"Ease in writing" comes from a poem by Alexander Pope, the British poet:
True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, 
As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance. 
Note he (and I) didn't say "easy writing." But just as dance lessons can help get you around the floor more gracefully, the goal for this newsletter is to share a tip or two to improve your writing.

Recipient of Constant Contact All Star Awards, 2011 through 2014!

Meeting Summaries to Meet Your Needs

Another good use of a writer is to serve as a rapporteur for a meeting. You could record the meeting, ask one of the organizers to take notes, or gather up the presenters' slides. You could also assign a meeting rapporteur to do all this and more.

I don't usually do too much meeting work, but I have two on my schedule for September. I am also editing two meeting summaries written by other people this month.

So my assignments have made me think of a few ideas for writers and meeting organizers: 
Come prepared 
The rapporteur needs to know as much about the topic and presenters beforehand as possible. Try to find out acronyms, proper names, and terms that will pop up frequently. Check out where you will sit in advance. Can you use your laptop comfortably? Is there a power outlet, or do you need extra batteries? Can you see the screen if the presenters are using one? 
Stay alert 
Besides a laptop, I come armed with lined pads, assorted pens and pencils, and granola bars or snacks. I sometimes switch between laptop and handwriting (often on print-outs of presentations). The variety eases my hand and arm muscles and keeps me more focused
Foolproof the technology 
Remember chargers, extra batteries if you are recording any sessions, a mouse and mousepad if you normally use them. If you are recording, check periodically that all is well. (My supposedly mega-memory recorder once "filled up," which required quick erasing of old files.)
Agree on the final product
Talk through what the deliverable should include (or not), such as--
  • Level of detail (main messages? all comments?)
  • Names of participants (especially in the Q and A after many presentations)
  • Use of graphics (such as charts used in presentations, and, if so, how to obtain permission and who will ask)
  • Direct quotes, or only paraphrases
  • Review of the draft by the presenters (and, if so, who will orchestrate the review)
A rule of thumb is two to three hours of writing time for every hour of meeting time, depending on the complexity of the meeting, the answers to these considerations, and the deadlines. 
Add value  
A note to writers--add value to the process. Go beyond just restating the presentations without the "ums" and "uhs." Provide the right level of detail. If appropriate, research to fill in holes. Suggest graphics, sidebars, or other elements that can enliven the copy.
A note to meeting organizers--take advantage of the rapporteur as a professional writer, not just a note-taker, to make the investment worthwhile.
Full Circle Communications, LLC / Alexandria, VA / 703.212.0350