August 15

Copywriting, editorial and consulting


Writing Consultant
In brief

Good writing makes business sense. It’s shorter. It’s quicker. It’s unambiguous. And it can be learned, provided we first unlearn the bad habits acquired from old-fashioned bosses or ill-trained bloggers.

Sydney-based writing coach Stephanie Oley offers several tried and tested frameworks designed to lift your writing techniques. Workshops range from in-house to public and motivational.

Drawing on her background in magazine journalism, radio and copywriting, Stephanie’s original courses include marketing, business, media and presentation writing, complete with original workbook.

Any course can be customised. All come with rigorous upfront client consultation and post-workshop feedback.

Did we mention?

When not consulting, Stephanie is creative partner at The Offices, where you’ll find her latest copywriting across a range of media. Offline, Stephanie stays busy exploring her passion for design, culture and community, and rambling about Sydney with her young family. She has several fiction manuscripts in progress.


Scribbles from Stephanie's notepad 


Stephanie offers a mix of in-house and public writing workshops, all replete with her original textbooks. Talk to her about customised writing, speaking and editing gigs too.


1. In-house workshops

Got six or so people in need of training? Or a very specific brand voice, project or goal to develop? Ask about the bespoke workshops, where Stephanie’s core presentations are adapted to carry examples from your organisation or industry.

Email moc.yeloeinahpetsnull@olleh to request a brochure on copywriting for marketers, writing for business, writing for the media and delivering a presentation. Rates are shown for full-day, half-day and hourly training.

2. Public workshops

Since 2006, Stephanie has presented several full-day writing workshops at The University of Sydney’s Centre for Continuing Education. Click on the links below for course descriptions, rates and upcoming dates.

Persuasive Marketing Materials

Effective Business Reports

Write and Promote a Media Release

3. Speaking

Whether you need a presentation for humour, hype or help, Stephanie’s extensive public speaking experience places her comfortably in front of any audience. Perhaps you want your people to get excited about writing better, or need a workshop on effective emails or better online bios? Just ask about the possibilities.

4. Writing

Long and short, content and catch-lines, websites and wobblers: Stephanie’s writing folio spans various formats and styles. See a selection of work here. Visit The Offices to browse her latest work, or download her portfolio below.


Stephanie Oley






How to give jargon-creep the flick



Bored of benchmarks? Sick of stakeholders, solutions and drinking the Kool-Aid? Well, you should be, because jargon is no way to express the uniqueness of your business.


In a news story I watched recently, a small business owner proudly touted the value of her cooking program (or maybe it was art?) for children.

“It empowers children to create their own dishes,” she gushed. Since when did normal everyday survival tasks like cooking cease to be just that? Growing instead into egotistical monsters that bleat for praise every time they’re performed?

A Forbes article recently described ‘empowerment’ as the “most condescending transitive verb ever invented.” Amusing articles like these abound, so there’s no excuse for not knowing the worst fluff in your industry’s vocab.

Top on my list, in the education-creative agency-business spheres, are these five seemingly harmless linguistic truncheons.

  • Benchmark – Your business benchmark relates to, er, what? Not all benchmarks are necessarily high. Add some context, puh-leeze. Benchmark is also interchangeable with ‘best practice’. Best practice for whom? The industry’s best? Or just all the other copycat hacks out there?
  • Stakeholder – Crazy person wielding a weapon-like stick with a point at the end. Is that really who you do business with? Surely you deal with communities, women aged over 30, local councils, senior teachers, shareholders, small businesses or other similarly plausible folk?
  • Journey – Creative industry heads love this word. “We want to take brand fans on a jouuuuuurney,” they effuse during the concepting phase. I love journeys, especially through rolling hills and country towns with lots of bakeries. But I’m going to break it to you. No matter how well ordered or even delicious your catalogue or credentials look, flipping through their pages is not a journey.
  • Story – All businesses want to tell their story. It’s just a shame they don’t realise that business missions and goals are just that. Missions and goals. Stories have unlikely heroes, dramatic twists, comical interludes and surprise endings. You can find plenty of stories in your customer experience. You just can’t slap the word ‘story’ onto any materials outside your data charts.
  • Solution – This one comes in so many shapes and sizes it’s hilarious. Scalable solutions, end-to-end solutions, outcome-orientated solutions and more solutions. Admittedly it’s a handy word. Client problems plus our solutions equals happy ending, right? It’s just that it’s so over-used. So go find a more specific synonym.

For all my rants, many people in your industry will expect you to use jargon. So while I’d love to say you should omit it altogether, the best way to deal with jargon is to halve its use. Here’s an example.

Instead of this: “Going forward, I think we can leverage these options and drill down to the next level for our stakeholders.”

Try this: “I think we can draw on these options to give our clients and partners a better product.”

Read the following articles and lists to start thinking about what redundant fluff to weed out of your company’s messaging. Then go to to explore other options. It’s fun. Promise!


Inc –

Wikipedia –

The Guardian –

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