March 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






To cc, or not to cc? How to manage group emailing


Few workplace matters cause collective groans like emailing – especially when entire teams are looped in. From cc’ing to avoidance, are some thoughts on managing group email scenarios.


Damned if you do; damned if you don’t – emails must be the bane of the modern professional. A senior executive in one of my recent workshops told of having to respond to over 200 emails daily, all of high importance to business operations. That’s not including the various spam messages she might have to delete in between.

Compounding this problem is that different people have different styles. For every keyboard warrior who likes to craft long, scrolling emails, there are 10 who resent anything more than a three-line request. While some managers want to be looped in throughout a project, most resent being cc’d every time.

Four skills are emerging as being important to those at the frontline of all that emailing.

  1. The group message

The general rule is that when you are copied into a group email, you don’t need to respond. Problems arise when the sender silently expects you to read the whole piece, along with the 87 others you receive that day. Oh, and it contains important requests you had to action before a particular time.

For those receiving light to moderate email loads each day, it’s perfectly OK to just scan the email quickly and then file or delete.  So, no response needed. For those receiving heavy loads, consider creating an auto-response message noting that you might not respond. For example: ‘This is a courtesy note to let you know that I can’t always respond to group emails. If the matter is important, please email me directly on [email protected] or call.’

If you do have to send a group email, personalise where you can. Instead of sending one email to hundreds of colleagues, break up the email and send to individual teams. Write clear project names and your required action in the subject line, and open the email with a request aimed right at the reader.

  1. The summarised chain

I’m often asked for tips on how to summarise email chains. This need typically emerges when a younger professional, having managed an issue via dozens of back-and-forth emails, now needs to hand the whole matter over to a more senior person.

Will that manager want to browse the whole 20-part email chain, with a casual ‘FYI’ written in the subject line? In most cases, no .They’ll want you to send the chain as an attachment, but with the key parts summarised. Try either of the following grouping techniques to create your summaries:

  • Chronology – recreate a neutral sequence of events, such as ‘background’, ‘present concerns’, ‘next steps’ and so on.
  • Relationship – group the points in terms of who did what and the significance this has, such as ‘original client brief unclear’, ‘lack of resources causes delay’ and so on. Using analytical headings (like these ones here) will help clarify these impacts.

Apart from summarising the key facts, you’ll sometimes need to correctly interpret the tone or nuances on both sides, along with any legal angles. It’s often worth getting a second opinion here, before sending to that busy senior manager.

  1. The minimal response

Every now and then, in almost every organisation, we’ll get that one individual who loves to craft long, long, lo-o-o-o-o-ng emails that cover every single detail of their subject.

A solution is to write a short return email with the words ‘see below for my responses.’ Then, next to each paragraph of their original letter, write a one-word comment or response. If the person is senior, consider meeting them instead to discuss.

A word of caution to junior staffers who send encyclopedia-sized emails to senior management: expect to be ignored. No manager will read this.

  1. The email report

Just like the PowerPoint report (ugh), the email report seems increasingly commonplace. After all, a lot of reports are just short project summaries, no longer than a standard page of 400 words in length.

First, use the standard ‘purpose – context – call to action’ structure to quickly let your reader know why they are receiving this note. Then, a few return spaces below, write a clear report heading and short summary paragraph followed by four or five sub-categories. Make sure to use bolding and other formatting so your reader can quickly scan the piece for an overview.


Of course, project management tools such as Google Drive, Jira or Slack are helping to minimise emailing. Team members can logon and quickly scan project dashboards to understand what has and hasn’t been done, without any emailing.

It also goes without saying that you should go chat with someone in person whenever you can, and avoid starting open-ended email discussions. There’s also the option of retiring young, becoming a hermit and going off-grid.

Outside of those options, sadly, I haven’t yet come across another way of avoiding emails.

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