Writing workshops

Coming up in 2019:

Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Berlin, Bonn, Copenhagen, Geneva, The Hague, Istanbul, Montreal, Nairobi, Rome, Vienna

or +33-6-6517-3966


Andrew Johnston  |  Training

I train people in international organizations to write more powerfully.

My core workshops are aimed at everyone who writes for a wider public. I tailor each workshop to the group’s needs by analysing samples of participants’ writing.


Most workshops are limited to 15 people to give all participants a chance to share their needs, questions and experiences. The workshop covers a wide range of writing situations, from reports and press releases to web pages and social media. It includes hands-on editing practice. It will help you to:

  • identify target audiences, communication goals and reading contexts
  • plan and structure documents logically and convincingly
  • build clear and concise paragraphs and sentences
  • choose the most appropriate words and identify words to omit
  • avoid, explain or replace jargon and buzzwords
  • revise drafts, improving structure, clarity and conciseness.

My advanced workshops focus on designing and signposting documents for different audiences; finding an angle; building compelling narratives; and humanizing your language. Topics include:

  • why people need stories: seizing and holding the reader's interest
  • identifying timespan, setting, characters, point of view, narrative
  • using critical thinking: context-trigger-question
  • avoiding impersonal language
  • naming subjects/agents
  • using concrete rather than abstract language.
  • saying “I”, “we” and “you”.

Workshop clients


Since November 2013, I've given
130 workshops
in 15 countries
for 1,500 people
from 150 agencies,


African Development Bank

European Climate Foundation

Global Witness


Overseas Development Institute

Save the Children

The Global Fund

World Bank

New one-day workshops or half-day modules

Making powerful presentationsTurn your words into a visual story that conveys your message

Using data to tell a story      Build and illustrate a compelling narrative from your numbers

Let me tailor a workshop for your team or agency. I have taught specialized workshops for education, environment, economics, energy and human resources teams.


Method: Individual, paired and group activities and exercises, interspersed with presentations (“mini-lectures,” videos, and group analysis of sample texts).


Materials: Each participant receives a 40-page workbook.


Media: Prezi presentation to support key points; flip-chart to sketch key ideas and list group findings.


Fee per person: EUR 395 (open workshops), EUR 325 (in-house workshops),.

Discounts can apply for joint bookings, multiple workshops, larger groups and in developing countries.


To register: Write to andrew at wordsforchange.com or call +336-6517-3966

What workshop participants say


Helen Swain, World Trade Organization: “I would whole-heartedly recommend that professionals whose work involves writing and/or editing for international organizations consider taking part in this workshop. The skills studied are extremely relevant.”


Alexandre Munafò, Interpeace: “Andrew’s workshop allowed me to change the way I write at work. Through concrete examples and with humour and tact, Andrew helped us get away from ‘traps’ in which we fall when we use jargon, buzzwords or unnecessary words. Thanks to the well-structured outline of the course and Andrew’s rich experience in working for international organizations, we have received practical tools to improve our writing and editing skills immediately.”


Alice Obrecht, Overseas Development Institute: “Out of all the courses I have done, Andrew’s has had the highest impact on my career as a policy-oriented researcher.

           "Doing a PhD can provide you with many useful skills, but it does not at all teach you how to write for an audience, or how to communicate your work in ways that will inspire action and engage the minds of decision-makers. Andrew’s course provides you with the tools and steps to do this and the results were remarkable. For the first report that I wrote after taking Andrew’s course, I received unsolicited feedback from over a dozen people, both inside and outside my organisation, who praised the quality and clarity of the report.

         “The biggest take-away for me from Andrew’s course is that communicating research findings effectively does not require sacrificing nuance or rigour—it is about recognising the different purposes for different pieces of writing, and creating the most appropriate structure and format for each purpose. PhD programmes

and other research courses will train you how to conduct high quality research. Andrew’s course will show you how to make your research relevant and usable for policy practitioners and decision-makers.”


Susanna Pak, International Trade Centre: “Andrew’s training course is unique in that he tailors the material so that it’s directly relevant to people working in international organizations. His course covers the essentials of journalism – such as writing in the active voice and reducing jargon – while keeping in mind the requirements of writing for an international audience. The most helpful part is that he not only shares tips and examples of clear and effective writing and editing, but you have the opportunity to practise what you learned on the spot.”


Rachel Quick, formerly of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: “Working in international organizations, we all fall into the (bad) habit of using technical jargon and clichés. In this workshop, Andrew gives you an opportunity to take a fresh look at your writing, encouraging you to break bad habits and convey messages simply and concisely.”


Paulette Jones, World Food Programme: “Andrew Johnston’s writing and editing workshop demystifies the art of writing. Andrew takes you carefully through the rubrics of good writing, providing plenty of practical exercises along the way. His course helps you identify your writing style and explains how to refine it in simple, yet effective language. Gone will be the repetition, verbosity, jargon and buzzwords! Your writing and communications will come alive. For anyone interested in the crafting narratives and communicating in a compelling and convincing way, I highly recommend this course.”

Andrew Johnston, 55 rue Bichat, 75010 Paris, France  |  andrew@wordsforchange.com  |  +336-6517-3966