I'm working with some other locals to create a presentation to the Board of Aldermen about our local economy. Because there are four of us on the project, we needed an easy way to approach our various sections and check them off prior to getting down to the work of writing the report and building the slide deck.

I whipped out the Content-Purpose-Audience strategy and gave a copy to everyone. For the folks who used it, it was a helpful tool in organizing thoughts and presenting ideas effectively. One ideologue refused to use it, but are we really surprised? It was easy for us to draft our portions independently and then blend them together for the final document.

To create the slides, we used the CPA to plan the overall deck and the Idea-Details strategy for slides on individual topics. The strategy's great for this because its form forces you keep things brief while pushing you to jot down key details. Here's the one I did for my section:

Idea-Details

And here's the completed CPA.

I love using strategies like this, especially for team writing. It speeds up the process so we get the thinking done before we start writing, when it's easier to keep, toss or add ideas. And the structure keeps us focused, making us all more productive and on-target. Drafting off of these little forms is so much easier, even for folks who hate to write. What's not to like?

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For more of our thoughts on team writing, read this: We're all in this together (and we hate it!).

Credit for the Idea-Details and Content-Purpose-Audience strategies goes to my talented husband, Steve Peha. © 1995-2011 Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. Used by permission.