October 18

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






The 1 surest way to a grammar boost


The comma is the simplest of punctuation elements, and remains the most versatile that writers can use.  


Just mention the word ‘grammar’ to a workshop participant and I’ll get grimaces and mutterings of, ‘Dunno much about grammar,’ and some awkward throat clearing.


In fact, most of us use perfectly correct grammar in our spoken English, so we do know something about the subject.


Improving your grammar doesn’t mean slogging through a grammar book from cover to cover. You can simply read up on one element at a time. (Choose a style guide rather than a grammar book, as it’s more relevant to the workplace). A good place to start your grammar boost is the humble comma.


The comma is used in different kinds of lists, and to separate different clauses. Its function is simply to ensure a message is unambiguous and clear.


Here’s an overview of the main ways commas can boost clarity in your writing.


1.   Introductory and transitional expressions

Use a comma after introductory terms such as ‘last year’ or ‘next time’, as well as linking terms such as ‘however’ and ‘furthermore’, which create a transition with a previous sentence.


In December 2012, Acme Corporation will release its final report.


However, there is another aspect of the problem.


2.   Run-on lists

Use commas to separate items in a list. A comma goes between the last and second-last item when there is a risk of ambiguity. For example:


The package will help businesses design, deliver and maintain a high service standard.


Her job was to liaise with clients, oversee the production team, and compile and issue corporate communications.


3.   Strings of adjectives

There are three kinds of adjectives – evaluative, descriptive and definitive, usually written in this order. You use commas only to separate adjectives of the same kind. For example:


A rare vintage convertible car (evaluative + descriptive + definitive)


A valuable, niche, self-contained sector of the industry (evaluative + evaluative + evaluative)


4.   Coordinate clauses

Use commas between clauses that are linked by ‘and’, ‘but’ or ‘yet’.  (There’s no need for a comma when the clauses are short). For example:


This report explains the reasoning behind Acme Co’s national IT upgrade, and recommends steps to ensure its success.


We will seek the government’s endorsement and publish the report. (short clauses – no comma necessary)

5 Responses to The 1 surest way to a grammar boost

  1. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work.

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