Spence & Company
Workshops and Webinars on Effective Business Communication
Clarifying Thinking and Communication
For over 65 years, Spence & Company has taught business professionals how to think more clearly and communicate more effectively. Whereas most courses on business communication focus on grammar and punctuation, Spence & Company workshops teach participants how to use the principles of effective communication to organize and express their ideas.
Participants consistently report that Spence & Company programs are among the two or three most valuable trainings of their entire career.
What We Do
Spence & Company offers workshops and webinars on effective business and technical writing and on preparing, designing, and delivering engaging presentations. Programs are conducted either at the client's facilities or via video conference. The size, length, and content of each workshop is tailored to clients' training needs.
Business and Technical Writing Workshops and Webinars
Applying the Principles of Effective Communication
Our most frequently requested program on business and technical writing is a two-day workshop or webinar consisting of two 4-hour sessions of instruction, plus a 30-minute coaching session with each participant.
The first 4-hour session is devoted to learning and applying the Spence & Company principles for organizing ideas and composing email and other types of documents. The second 4-hour session is devoted to instruction and exercises on drafting and editing and to composing longer documents and special types of business correspondence. Participants' writing samples are used to illustrate the approach.
After each workshop, the instructor schedules a 30-minute coaching session with each participant to discuss samples of their writing submitted prior to the workshop and to offer personalized suggestions for improvement.
Emphasis throughout the workshop is on learning-by-doing. Participants compose work-related emails and documents in class, which is shared and evaluated. Time is also spent reviewing writing samples participants submit to the instructor prior to the workshop. Class size is generally limited to 12 to 15 participants to ensure maximum attention to individual questions and needs.
Effective Presentation Workshops and Webinars
A Clear Message Saves Time
The biggest mistake people make when preparing presentations is working on their slides before they know what they want to say. Therefore, Spence & Company’s Effective Presentations Workshop teaches participants how to define their message before they create their slides. The resulting presentation takes less time to prepare and delivers a clear and compelling message with fewer slides that are easier to understand.
Using the same approach that Spence & Company uses to teach business and technical writing, the Effective Presentation Workshop shows participants how to create presentations that deliver their message with clarity and confidence. The appoach is illustrated by reviewing participant presentations submitted prior to the workshop.
Our instructional materials are a distinctive feature of Spence & Company workshops.
Participants in all our programs receive two books: Think First, Write Better: The Art of Communication That Everyone Knows, But No One Practices and its supplement, Business Writing: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, plus The Spence & Company Guide.
Think First, Write Better
The Art of Communication
That Everyone Knows, But No One Practices
Think First, Write Better teaches a unique approach to organizing ideas and composing all types of messages. Once the principles of effective communication are grasped, organizing a document or presentation becomes a simple matter of completing the Worksheet for Organizing Ideas. The completed worksheet creates a detailed plan for drafting your communication, which can then be edited by applying nine simple principles for effective sentences and paragraphs.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Business Writing: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly reinforces the principles taught in Think First, Write Better in over 150 pages of examples that show how to convert confused accounts into well-organized and readable documents. The book also provides models for the most common types of business documents, such as reports, proposals, minutes of meetings, trip reports, cover letters for resumes, and more.
The Spence & Company Guide
To Decision-Oriented Communication
The Spence & Company Guide is a handy reference tool the size of a business card that summarizes the elements of an effective communication. It presents all the principles needed to organize and edit any message.
Who We Are
Diverse Experience in the Challenges of 21st Century Communication
Matthew Spence, president of Spence & Company since 2005, has spent more than three decades working with individuals and organizations to help them think more clearly, communicate more effectively, and work more cooperatively. Matthew is also a partner at Converge(www.converge.net), a team of strategists and designers committed to social and environmental impact.
Based on his diverse experience, Matthew has adapted the Spence & Company approach to business communication for the twenty-first century. Workshops include significant address to writing clear and concise emails, and even texts, and to communication as an essential skill of effective management. Matthew has developed a special session on the principles of engaging presentations. Spence & Company's workshops are now also available as webinars.
From 1998 to 2005, Matthew worked in Brazil as a management consultant, designing and leading strategy retreats. He also taught executive development programs in Portuguese on the design and implementation of large-scale organizational change.
Matthew Spence spent the preceding fifteen years as a writer, speaker, educator, and facilitator in the nonprofit sector. Additionally, Matthew has worked in banking, IT services, and litigation support.
Matthew Spence received a B.A. with honors from Harvard University. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
Spence & Company has been teaching effective communication for over 65 years.
Spence & Company was founded in 1953 by Matthew’s father, Lewis Spence, at a time when no one thought to teach writing to business people. It all began somewhat serendipitously.
Having worked as a journalist for Time magazine, Lewis Spence had decided to offer his services to corporations to write their annual reports and other business communications. Through an acquaintance, he got an interview with Marvin Bower, CEO of McKinsey & Company. But Bower wasn't interested in Spence's services as a writer. On the other hand, if he could teach McKinsey consultants how to write, he had a contract.
Lewis Spence had a little over two weeks to develop his course on business writing and make a proposal. Drawing on the principles of rhetoric, Spence developed a lecture course on business writing and what were then known as “oral presentations”. Thus was born the unique, structured approach to business writing that has been the signature of Spence & Company training programs for over 60 years.
Lewis Spence retired from teaching Spence & Company workshops in 1995. He passed away at his home in Cranbury, N.J. on May 12, 1998.
Padraic Spence, Lewis’s eldest son, joined Spence & Company in 1978. He brought to the Spence & Company the benefits of modern training techniques, turning his father’s lecture course into a hands-on workshop in which participants learn by doing. He also developed a unique set of worksheets to guide the composing process: the Worksheet for Organizing Ideas, the Reader Profile Form, and the Write Smart Guide.
Padraic Spence retired as Spence & Company president in 2005. He passed away at his home in Housatonic, MA on September 27, 2013.
matthew [at] spenceandco [dot] com