The following resources are available to help assist students with their communications goals.
A writing consultant is available to the HKS community to offer a variety of services from assisting students with policy memos, case analyses and other class assignments to helping seasoned writers polish drafts for publication. For more details or to make an appointment, see the Details & Appointments section.
A collection of writing, public speaking and digital communications resources curated from HKS communications program faculty, HKS workshop presenters, universities, and communications practitioners can be found below.
During the academic year, a writing consultant will offer a variety of services to the HKS community.
These free private one-on-one sessions can help you:
- with assignments such as policy memos, case analyses, and other class projects
- self-edit for clarity, concision, and style
- structure an argument to present your ideas effectively to different audiences
- find appropriate resources on citation (MLA, Chicago, etc.)
Regarding appointments, keep in mind:
- Last-minute appointments are often not possible, although the consultant will try to be flexible. Try to make an appointment well before an assignment is due.
- The writing consultant is not a copy editor nor proofreader. He will work with you to improve style, structure, argumentation, citations, use of data and grammar.
- The consultant is willing to help international students with English grammar on a limited basis, but they are not ESL instructors.
For appointments, sign-up on Google doc.
Jerry Lanson is a former HKS Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy where he taught "Feature Writing for Politics and Policy." Jerry was an associate professor of journalism at Emerson College and was a former acting and deputy city editor a the San Jose Mercury News.
Jerry will be available Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. An alternative time can also be set up by appointment.
Schedule an appointment with Jerry.
He can also be reached at email@example.com, or by calling 781-799-7465.
Public Speaking Consultant
A public speaking consultant is available to the HKS community to offer individual support and assistance for upcoming presentations and speeches.
Jill Slye (founder & principal of A Sounding Board, and an instructor in many Harvard Communities), is available to meet with HKS students. Meetings (online and in-person) are designed to be a safe space for students to practice, learn new techniques, and hone their public speaking skills.
Peer Writing Tutors
The HKS Library's Peer Writing Tutors provide individualized support for HKS students working on writing projects. Tutors are trained by an HKS faculty member to help bring out the best writing in their peers through one-on-one workshopping.
Tutors are not copy editors or proofreaders, meaning they will not provide line-by-line editing on otherwise completed projects. Instead, Tutors will:
- Help you self-edit for clarity, concision, and style
- Structure an argument to present your ideas effectively
Tutors are available during the Fall 2023 semester, beginning in late October. Appointments are 25 minutes long. Students should bring the text they are working on to their appointment (on a laptop is fine), and there is no need to share it with your tutor in advance.
Stay tuned for schedule information starting in late October.
- Becoming a Better Writer| Greg Harris
- Basic Primer on Punctuation (*and click on Top Ten Tips)| thepunctuationguide.com
- 4 Quick Tips to Improve Your Business Writing | Lauren Brodsky
- How to Write a Strategic Plan | Sushma Raman
- Write Out Loud: How to Write Something that Sounds Good Spoken | Kousha Navidar
- Writing About Social Justice Passions | Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
- How to Write about Foreign Policy | Lauren Brodsky
- Say What You Mean: Clarity and the Critical Standpoint in Your Writing | Rick Kenney
- How to Use Your Personal Story in Your Professional Writing | Alex Green
- Rules for Writing Email | Steven D. Stark
- Tips for Writing Analytic Research Papers| Marie Danziger
- The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition (University of Chicago Press, 2017).
- The Associated Press Stylebook (Basic Books, 2020).
- Fowler, H.W. A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, (Oxford University Press, 2004).
- Strunk, William, Jr., and E.B. White. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition (Longman, 1999).
- Tarshis, Barry. Grammar for Smart People (Pocket Books, 1992).
- Warriner, John E., and Francis Griffith. English Grammar and Compositions, Complete Course (Harcourt Brace, 1963.)
- Zinsser, William. On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition, (Harper Perennial, 2006).
- Resources for Editors of Scholarly Journals: Editing 101 | University of Kansas Libraries
- Some Basic Guidelines for Starting to Edit | Jeffrey Seglin
- How to Edit Your Own Writing and Others | Greg Harris
- Using Reverse Outlines|Jeffrey Seglin
- Your Best Editor: YOU | Rick Kenney
- Editing Yourself: How to Copy Edit Your Own Writing | Kate Victory Hannisian
- Guidelines for Editing Your Own Work| The University of Richmond Writing Center
- Revising for Cohesion| Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL)
- Steps for Revising Your Paper| Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL)
- NEW! HKS Student Policy Review
- Guidelines for a Successful Op-Ed Pitch| Alex Green
- How to Pitch a Journal or Magazine Article | Greg Harris
- Sampling of Publication Outlets for Students | Jerry Lanson
- Publishing your Scholarship | Library
- Google-Top Publications (Public Policy & Administration) | Communications Program
- How to Write a Book Proposal | Sample Book Proposal |Greg Harris
- Writing Your First Book | Lisa Shannon
- HKS Policy Memo Resource website| Explore policy memos for the U.S. and abroad. Learn policy writing best practices and expectations.
- How to Write a Policy Memo That Matters | The University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy
- How to Write a Policy Memo | Lauren Brodsky
- How to Write a Policy Memo -Slides from Workshop|Lauren Brodsky
- Option and Decision Memos: Basic Components | Marie Danziger
- Video - How to Write an Op-ed| Jeff Seglin
- How to Write an Op-ed| Jeff Seglin
- How to Write an Op-ed | Nick Kristof
- How to Write an Op-Ed, Classic Op-Ed Structure | Jeff Seglin
- CALL TO ACTION: How Write Op-eds that inspire Change | Alex Green
- Make Better Arguments, Including in Your Op-eds | Scott Jennings
- Guidelines for a Successful Op-Ed Pitch| Alex Green
- How to Complete a Group Writing Assignment over Zoom, Fast Company, 12/2020| Lauren Brodsky, HKS Lecturer
- Writing Group Essays | Thompson Writing Program, Duke University
- Collaborative Writing Strategies | UNA Center for Writing and Excellence
- Group Writing | The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Collaborative Writing Resources | UCONN Writing Center
- Six Tips for Effective Writing Groups | Faculty Focus
- PAE Handbook| Harvard Kennedy School
- Award Winning PAE's | Harvard Kennedy School
- To Find Past HKS PAE's or SYPA's| Harvard Kennedy School
- Structuring Your PAE or SYPA as a White Paper or Briefing Book| Communications Program
- Structuring a PAE or SYPA | Luci Herman
- Writing White Papers for Impact | Steven Strauss
- Guidelines for Successful Policy Analyses | Marie Danziger
- How to Write an Executive Summary| Lauren Brodsky
- Briefing Book Guide| Communications Program
- Criteria for Effective Briefing Books| Communications Program
- Generic Components of Briefing Books| Communications Program
Harvard Kennedy School has published very clear guidelines regarding the need to cite words and ideas you have borrowed from other sources. Please review the HKS Academic Code for information regarding citations.
The Harvard Kennedy School Library's Citation Style Guide & Tools links to resources including the American Psychological Association (APA) format, and information for citing web resources.
Public Speaking Resources
Join Harvard's Crimson Toastmasters and gain public speaking experience and feedback.
Members meet the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month.
To find out more, visit their website -
Crimson Toastmasters Club (toastmastersclubs.org)
- Advocating a Controversial Position |Marie Danziger
- Articulating a Vision or Mission |Marie Danziger
- Campaigning for Election |Marie Danziger
- Guidelines for Consensus-Building |Marie Danziger
- Guidelines for Interactive Persuasion |Marie Danziger
- How To Be Persuasive |Marie Danziger
- Stand Up: How to Advocate for Your Ideas, Compel and Audience, and Make them Laugh | Terri Trespicio
- Building Trust | Marie Danziger
- Creating a Speaker Persona | Holly Weeks
- Dealing with Emotion | Marie Danizger
- Five Steps towards More Successful Public Speaking | Marie Danziger
- Fly-Swatter Techniques | Marie Danziger
- How Listeners Think | Marie Danziger
- Introduction to Public Speaking | Holly Weeks
- Markers for Public Speaking | Marie Danziger
- Mental Models for Public Speaking | Marie Danziger
- Some Characteristics of Eloquence | Marie Danziger
- Some Thoughts about Expressing Values | Marie Danziger
- Some Rhetorical Uses of Metaphor | Marie Danziger
- Ten Ways To Generate New Ideas | Marie Danziger
- The First 60 Seconds | Marie Danziger
- User-Friendly Speech Frameworks | Holly Weeks
- Speaking with Clarity | Genevieve Fraser
Digital Communications & Social Media Resources
- A Quick Guide to Using Audacity | Ken Gagne
- Blog Like a Journalist: Establishing Your Voice in the Digital Age | Dan Kennedy
- Channeling Frustration to Change the World | Ashley Spillane
- Writing and Maintaining a Blog | Ravi Parikh
The Communications Program is not designed to replace English as a Second Language (ESL) courses, but if in-depth assistance is desired, there are a few services available locally:
- Academic Resource Center (ARC) at Harvard University - ESL Consultations
- The Cambridge Center for Adult Education on Brattle Street offers short, intense ESL assistance.
These websites also contain useful ESL resources:
- EdX Course - English Grammar and Style
- Improve your English grammar, essay and persuasive writing with this introductory college writing course.
- EdX Course - Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking
- Gain critical communication skills in writing and public speaking with this introduction to American political rhetoric.
- Purdue University: ESL-specific exercises
- University of Richmond Writing Center.
- UMass-Boston open courseware course for free on Critical Reading and Writing.
- MIT open courseware course for free on Writing and Reading the Essay.