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I'm tired of dreary reports full of cliches, jargon and general drivel. Seeking sources on effective writing. Going to APA conference, wondering if a discussion group may be appropriate. I think the profession should take a more active role.
You might want to hunt down a book called "Plain English For Lawyers" by Richard Wydick. Although it's written with attorneys in mind, as a planner I've found the book very useful. Pretty much, it tries to sell concise, plain English to lawyers -- that a statement that is made with three or four words is just as enforceable as one using 20. Every planner who is drafting a zoning code should
Colleges are matriculating people who cannot write a descriptive, concise paragraph. It is not merely a planning problem. We have books and PAS reports on better communications skills. I am not sure that enough people care anymore.
I require writing samples when recruiting employees, and often have a written exercise as part of the testing. Many positions that I have sought do the same. Communication is that critical.
Sandy: You are 100% correct. This is a real shortcoming of the profession. I read a public opinion survey related to the status and quality of planning and a number of the negative comments were related to the obtuse and pretentious jargon planners often use. On my list of things to do, a really long list, is to write an article "Say want you mean and mean what you say". Mike Frank
Ken- Your point is absolutely true, with the clarifier that "impact" is being used as a verb inappopriately, because per Webster's, it IS defined as a "verb: to pack firmly together." I don't mean to correct you, but you made me question myself and I had to look it up!
When I tutored students in writing I had one main suggestion: read it out loud. If it sounds awkward, clumsy or longwinded, rewrite and read out loud again. If you find you can't judge your own writing, read it to a bright friend without a background in your discipline.