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Barbara Clough

Flat pack annual review

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In poetry classes I've taken, one of the exercises is to write flat-pack poems. You take a few specific lines, words or phrases, specify the number of lines or syllables per line, and use them to create a poem.  

Flat Pack Poem Exercise

For instance, use the following to write a poem: 

  • Take a line from one of your favorite songs as the title to your poem
  • Write one stanza of 10 lines
  • No specified syllable count per line
  • Use the word fearless twice 
  • End the poem on a question 

It's fun and non-threatening and just a way to play with words. I started thinking about this because of a thread in the forums on how to write haiku, assuming you can actually write haiku in English, which I'm not certain is possible. And then I remembered I had to write 2 annual reviews for colleagues of mine. 

The annual review is the perfect venue for flat-pack writing. First, I only have three boxes to fill in. (I'm not their manager - it's peer-to-peer review. Complete waste of time, but be that as it may....)

How to Write a  Flat-Pack Annual Review

3 questions: 

  • What impact did she have?
  • What ways can she grow and improve?
  • Any other feedback?

I always find these reviews problematic so I decided to create a flat-pack process. I know the structure: 3 boxes to fill in. There are four characteristics in my company, and I need to focus the review on one, in this case collaborative, so that limits what I will write about. Then I searched out 2 websites that literally provide lines you can use that reflect "collaborative" or whatever word you've chosen. And then I write! I also used my thesaurus extensively as I wanted collaborative to be the underlying theme without repeating collaborative 15 times, so I needed to find synonyms. 

This was the most fun I've had writing a review - ever! I have one more to-do and will use the same technique. Who knew creative writing could be so well applied to my corporate existence! Hah!

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