April 2011  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips

Writing a Policy Procedure Document

A policy procedure document is designed to clearly explain how to implement a specific policy step by step. When writing such a document, use a logical organization to make the procedure easy to follow. A three-part structure will help:

  1. Opening. Briefly introduce the policy and the procedure for implementing it. If appropriate, explain the purpose for the policy.
  2. Middle. Explain the procedure in clear, step-by-step instructions. List each task and who is responsible for it, and give any contact information that may be needed. Include a schedule and a deadline for each task.
  3. Closing. Include expected outcomes for following the procedure. Also discuss follow-up activity and problem-resolution ideas.

To further clarify your document, use clear headings for each main point, and number each step within a section. When you revise (you do revise, don’t you?), check for plain language and easy-to-follow steps. If you are the sole writer and have no committee to confer with, run the document by others for feedback. Then edit it for correct spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.

Finally, before publishing the procedure, address any legal, safety, or security concerns that its implementation may produce.

For professional business writing tips, see Write for Business: A Compact Guide to Writing and Communicating in the Workplace—just one of the handy business-writing materials from UpWrite Press.

Teacher Tips

Okay, you have been assigned to train a group of employees regarding a new product, technique, or policy. There are several teaching methods you can use, and the straightforward presentation is one. This style of teaching involves handing out information while the trainees listen, take notes, and discuss. Here are the basic presentation types:

  • Lecture. One person speaks in front of the group, explaining the material. This is most effective when you have a large group and clearly organized information.
  • Demonstration. A trainer shows how to follow a new procedure or process step by step. Visual aids are always helpful during a presentation.
  • Group Meeting. Trainers present separate parts of the new material to small groups. Afterward, the groups come together to discuss the information. Each group literally teaches the others what they have learned. This is an effective technique, since people who teach others often learn the material better than if they simply sit and try to absorb it.

Whichever teaching method you use, always determine the session’s desired outcome in advance. Ask yourself, “What do I want my audience to walk away with?” Then go about delivering that information.

That Little Extra

Thinking about blogging? There are plenty of free sites where you can set up shop as a pundit, but keep in mind how far and wide your ramblings will travel. Remember that your blog will show up on a search of your name—and that means potential employers might just check you out. Would you rather they see a rant peppered with obscenities, or rational thoughts presented in a calm, clear manner? Remember, we no longer live in a privacy-protected world. Even with the HIPAA ruling, anything you put into cyberspace can be found by someone who wants to find it. That may seem a bit Orwellian, but it’s a fact.


April Writers' Forum Topic

Here’s your chance to tell us how your work environment operates. Send us your responses to the forum question below, and we’ll print the most interesting in our eTips Mid-Month Mini.

We all worry about safety, whether at home or at work, and recent world events certainly have the capacity to fray our sense of security. What measures have you or your office taken to assure the safety of yourself and others?

E-mail your response to writersforum@upwritepress.com. Write “April Writers’ Forum” in the subject line, and you could see your reply in the eTips Mid-Month Mini.

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This is your chance to be part of the UpWrite Press newsletters and blogs. What writing topics do you want to hear about? Have you any favorite communications tips you’d like to share? What words do you constantly mix up? Send us your ideas and you could see your name in Writing eTips or the Mid-Month Mini.

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Entries for the month of March:

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Using Punctuation

Constructing Sentences

Types of Sentences


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Coming in April

Preparing Effective Interview Questions

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