Strategic Thinking and Communications
For over 60 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.
What We Do
Spence & Company offers workshops on effective business and technical writing and on preparing, designing, and delivering presentations. Programs are conducted at the client's facilities. The size, length, and content of each workshop is tailored to clients' training needs.
Business and Technical Writing Workshop
Applying the Principles of Effective Communication
Our most frequently requested program on business and technical writing is a two-day workshop consisting of a day-and-a-half of instruction, plus a half-day of 20-minute conferences with each participant. The first day is devoted to learning and applying the Spence & Company principles for organizing ideas and composing written correspondence. The morning of the second day is devoted to instruction and exercises on editing, to the special requirements of writing and managing e-mail, and to composing special types of business correspondence. In the afternoon, the course instructor meets individually with participants for 20 minutes to discuss samples of their writing submitted prior to the workshop and to offer guidance on ways to improve their communication skills.
Emphasis throughout the workshop is on learning-by-doing. Participants compose work-related correspondence 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. One-day workshops are also available.
Effective Presentations Workshop
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 Presentations Workshop shows participants how to create presentations that deliver their message with clarity and confidence.
Our instructional materials are a distinctive feature of Spence & Company workshops.
Participants in all our programs receive two books: Organizing Ideas: The Key the Effective Communication and its supplement, Business Writing: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, plus The Spence & Company Guide.
The Key to Effective Communication
Organizing Ideas 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 Organizing Ideas 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.
Since its founding in 1953, Spence & Company has instructed over 50,000 men and women, equipping them with tools for clear expression in all types of business and technical communication. Clients include such companies as:
Who We Are
Spence & Company has been teaching effective communication for over 60 years.
Matthew Spence, president of Spence & Company since 2005, has spent more than two 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 for Impact (www.convergeforimpact.com), where he is responsible for Research.
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 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.
Practical guidelines for effective communication