This morning I ran a 2.5 hour workshop called FFS: write well for the web! at the Engage Your Community 2011 Conference:
Think you know what FFS stands for? You may be wrong. In this writing workshop Miraz Jordan shares specific techniques for catching a reader’s interest, keeping it and encouraging them to take the actions you want them to take. Bring a 1-page piece of writing to work on.
This hands-on workshop provided its own interesting challenges:
- We were in a room where the participants didn’t have computers. That made the hands-on aspect rather tricky.
- My request that people bring some writing to work on didn’t reach the participants.
- I’d prepared some texts for people who didn’t bring their own, but participants couldn’t access them as they were available online.
- Without computers and texts I did more talking and participants did less practice than I’d anticipated. In a workshop participants should be working not just listening. They also couldn’t visit the sites and texts I wanted them to critique.
- Although my computer was plugged in to the wall socket a glitch meant it ran off battery and ‘died’ 15 minutes before the end of the session, with a couple of slides left to discuss. That wasn’t long enough to bring up any of my backup alternatives, so things collapsed a bit at the end.
- Being unwell for weeks slowed down all my work and meant I didn’t have as much time as I liked for preparation. I was still putting the final touches in place yesterday. Normally I’d have everything in hand long before that.
- Being behind in everything meant I’d worked all through Easter, and then some 18 hour days, which I knew was dangerous. I’m still unwell too, so I was tired and not in top form.
Participants seemed reasonably happy, but as workshops go, this wasn’t really quite up to my usual standard.
Slides, handouts and links
There are links to my slides and handouts below. Note that I’ve had to mess around with the slides a bit as they were an accompaniment to what I was saying, rather than intended to stand alone. They may make no sense out of context.
The files are on on my S3 site for free download, in two forms: ordinary PDF and zipped PDF.
- Presentation slides (8.6Mb, PDF)
- Presentation slides (8.0Mb, zipped PDF)
- Web Writing Cheatsheet (5.6Mb, PDF)
- Web Writing Cheatsheet (5.3Mb, zipped PDF)
- Web Writing Handout (5.6Mb, PDF)
- Web Writing Handout (5.3Mb, zipped PDF)
The handout and cheatsheet are actually from a slightly earlier and day-long version of the course that I ran in 2010. That workshop was called First, Fast, Effective Text.