Four women face sit around tables with laptops, looking at the camera and smiling.

Writer’s Toolbox 2023-2024

Explore Your Creative Side!

Polish Your Skills!

Learn Something New!

The Writer’s Toolbox examines different facets of the written and spoken word, introducing techniques and considerations that are both central to each topic and transferable to others. Taught by the staff of Princeton Writes and guest instructors from across our University community, these two-hour workshops are designed to help you become a more versatile and persuasive communicator.

Once enrollment opens, anyone with a Princeton netID may register by visiting the University’s Learning Center and selecting the Princeton Writes workshop(s) in which you are interested. If you find these workshops to be full, please join the waiting list, not only to take advantage of cancellations but also to help us gauge the level of interest in re-offering them.

Unless specified otherwise, all workshops will be held in person in B03 New South, Princeton Writes‘ new home, which can be accessed most directly from the basement entrance on the southern side of the building (facing the parking garage).

Enrollment for Fall Semester Workshops Opens Wednesday, October 4, at 10:30 a.m.


Good Catch! Editing Your Work and Others’

To be successful, every writer must also be an editor. Our brains are more nimble than our fingers, compensating for mistakes that only the closest reading will uncover. Automated grammar and spelling checks are far from foolproof and provide no help when it comes to questions of tone, concision, and persuasiveness. This workshop will discuss best practices when editing your own and others’ work, highlighting what to look for and how to increase the odds of finding it. You will then have an opportunity to hone your skills by editing a document that cries out for help. Instructor: Stephanie Whetstone, Assistant Director, Princeton Writes

October 12, 2023, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Connection, Not Perfection: An Introduction to Public Speaking

The ability to speak effectively in public is a critical but seldom taught skill. Neglect is often compounded by anxiety, but with practice and guidance, public speaking can be an exhilarating experience for both speaker and listener. This workshop emphasizes the importance of forging a connection with your audience rather than achieving oratorical perfection. It explores 10 ways of enhancing your oral presentations, from the organization of your content to your method of delivery, with the ultimate goal of expressing yourself more confidently and persuasively at Princeton and beyond. Instructor: John Weeren, Director, Princeton Writes

October 19, 2023, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Establishing Your Character: How to Build Trust Through Storytelling

A clear understanding of your character and an ability to communicate this to the right people through an engaging story is essential to pursuing the objectives you care most about. Why? Because a clear and honest story not only builds trust in your audience, but it also makes them want to be part of your story. In this workshop, we’ll focus on several key elements of good storytelling. You’ll have a chance to put them into practice through fun exercises that will eventually lead to a draft of a story that can help build the relationships you need to move forward in the areas of your life that matter most to you. Businesses have brands; human beings have character, and whether you’re looking for stronger relationships with team members, clients, collaborators, or potential employers, storytelling is the best tool you have to reveal what truly makes you tick. Instructor: Josh Tobiessen, Founder, Shared Story Consulting, and Playwright

October 26, 2023, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Build the Plane as You Fly It: Communications Strategy on the Go

When was the last time you had ample time to prepare and strategize? As communicators, we are often tasked with making something happen and developing the plan to do it at the same time. In this interactive workshop, we will share practical tips to help you set clear goals, develop a mission and vision, identify your audience, and pinpoint ways to measure success. Instructors: B. Rose Huber, Head, and Gwen McNamara, Strategic Communications and Digital Marketing Manager, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

November 2, 2023, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Writing is Thinking: The Secrets to Writing Well

Writing is not the unpleasant chore of translating thought into words. Writing is thinking. Until you have written it clearly, you have not thought it clearly. And there is no more persuasive evidence of an incoherent argument than incoherent prose. Beyond writing well, the peculiar challenge in non-academic communications at a university like ours is speaking to multiple audiences in a single document. Unlike faculty, professional communicators must engage a general-interest audience while simultaneously advancing a dialogue with experts who have specialized knowledge of the subject matter. This workshop will explore both pitfalls and tricks of the trade of professional writing in a setting like Princeton. Participants will leave with a series of checklists that can be used to improve any piece of writing, whether a decision memo, grant application, strategic plan, press release, or marketing communication. Instructor: Gadi Dechter, Vice President for Communications and Government Affairs

November 9, 2023, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Reaching Everyone: Accessible PowerPoints and Presentation Delivery

Presentations take many forms. They can be instructional, informative, or persuasive, but the challenge remains the same: how do we transfer knowledge from ourselves to an audience clearly and effectively? In this workshop, we’ll tackle this question while centering the experiences of people with disabilities as we consider our audience. We’ll discuss ways to design, structure, and deliver presentations with accessibility in mind. At the end of this workshop, participants will have a better understanding of the unique challenges people with disabilities may face when being presented with new information and of ways to minimize those challenges. Instructor: Rachel Busnardo, Training and Outreach Program Manager (Digital Accessibility), Office of Information Technology

November 16, 2023, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Stand Out Among the In-Crowd: Writing for Influence Using LinkedIn

Did you know that LinkedIn is not only the world’s largest professional networking platform but also one of the world’s largest publishing platforms? With four posts every two seconds, millions of people write posts and publish articles on LinkedIn. Learn how to develop a strategic yet authentic presence and connect with purpose to others by writing and sharing content that influences, informs, and inspires. Instructor: Eva Kubu, Associate Dean for Professional Development and Director of GradFUTURES, Graduate School

November 30, 2023, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Handle with Care: Bringing Out the Best in Email

Although email has revolutionized the way we communicate, it is not without pitfalls. Even with the best intentions, we can confuse, offend, or disappoint our readers by failing to exercise sufficient care and sensitivity. This workshop discusses how to craft emails that will further, not hinder, workplace objectives. Having explored 10 keys to effective email—guiding principles designed to both build relationships and convey information—you will be invited to rewrite an email in dire need of a makeover. After all, in the absence of face-to-face communication, we are our email. Instructor: John Weeren, Director, Princeton Writes

December 7, 2023, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

How to Write a Podcast Script

If you’re new to podcasting, are you wondering what the creation of a podcast script involves? And if you’ve already embraced this influential medium, are you unsure how to turn the theme of your podcast into a script that is compelling? Or are you writing scripts whose content is engaging but that are hard to read on the air? If you’re nodding your head in response to any of these questions, this interactive workshop is for you! We will show you how to turn your written voice into a speaking script that smoothly optimizes your message. And you will leave with a podcast structure that will keep your listeners tuned in! Instructor: Wright Seneres, Engineering Communication Specialist (and Podcast Host), School of Engineering and Applied Science

December 14, 2023, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.