Writing Professionally in English

In the world of Open-Source Software, the lingua franca is English. The course is explicitly aimed at non-native speakers (i.e. it is meant for people who have learned English as a foreign language), but requires at least conversational English as a prerequisite.


Clarity of Expression

  • What are we here for? What does it mean to communicate professionally, in English, in an environment where most people's *first* language is not English? What communications modes does this apply to? Why are we focusing on written communications? What is our No.1 priority in written communications? (2 hours, including discussion and hands-on writing)
  • Keys to clarity: Orwell's Six Rules. How we can apply six simple rules to make all our writing clearer, more concise, and easier to understand. (3 hours, including hands-on writing)
  • Little Things to improve your professional writing: How we can use simple tricks to make our writing even better. Using parallelism, emphasis, and other tricks to unclutter and clarify our writing. (2 hours, including hands-on writing)
  • Out with the Germglish (and Frenglish, and Nederlanglish): how to steer clear of mistakes non-native speakers typically make. (1.5 hours)
  • The not-so-secret superpower that all good writers use: how to instantly improve your writing quality across the board with one simple trick (yes, really)!

Clarity of Structure

  • The benefits of written communications: why a well-written piece is infinitely better than calling a meeting. The economics of good writing. (0.5 hours)
  • Efficiently communicating complex matters: the 5 paragraph format. How we can use a simple, standard format to convey just about any information about a complex task, project, or plan. (2.5 hours, including hands-on writing)
  • When you do need to have a meeting: writing good collaborative meeting notes. How to keep the people in a meeting to the necessary minimum, while still keeping everyone with a need-to-know in the loop. (2 hours, including hands-on writing)
  • Escaping Meeting Hell: what you can do to have fewer meetings, and have time to focus on things (and why it matters!). (1 hour)
  • Cutting Back on Chat: why it makes sense to write less in chat, and more on email, your issue tracker, and your wiki. (1 hour)
  • Pulling It All Together: hands-on writing and Q&A (2 hours)


Wer möchte, reist bis 22 Uhr am Vortag an und nutzt den Abend bereits zum Fachsimpeln am Kamin oder im Park.

An den Kurstagen dann von 9-18 Uhr (mit 2 Kaffee- und 1 Mittagspause) etwa 60% Schulungen und 40% Übungen. Selbstverständlich arbeitet jeder Teilnehmer am von uns gestellten Notebook oft parallel zum Referenten mit.

Anschließend Abendessen und Angebote für Fachsimpeln, Ausflüge uvm. Wir schaffen eine Atmosphäre, in der Fachleute sich ungezwungen austauschen. Wer das nicht will, wird zu nichts gezwungen und findet auch jederzeit Ruhe.