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Professional Communications. Why?  Typically you have a defined role in the technical arena  Why do you need to write ?  Share  Present and future.

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Presentation on theme: "Professional Communications. Why?  Typically you have a defined role in the technical arena  Why do you need to write ?  Share  Present and future."— Presentation transcript:

1 Professional Communications

2 Why?  Typically you have a defined role in the technical arena  Why do you need to write ?  Share  Present and future  Peers and managers  Clients and users  Lecturers and students  Retain  Yourself, team, organisation  Represent  Yourself, team, organisation

3 Typical Artefacts Used Professionally  Proposals  Feasibility Studies  Technical Reports  User documentation  Progress Reports  Technical documentation  Presentations  Memos  Letters  Minutes  Emails  Wikis  Blogs  Discussion boards  Web site  Social media  CVs  Letters  Personal statements/essays

4 Key characteristics – Professional Writing  Clarity  Clear single meaning  Accuracy  Minor errors will not be forgiven – will cast doubt on the entire document  Comprehensiveness  Meet requirements completely – omissions will not be forgiven  Accessibility  Structure is important – headings are a map – tables of contents, figures, tables etc all are used as tools  Conciseness  Time is an important factor – verbosity is not welcome  Correctness  Grammar, punctuation, spelling – all important – messiness casts doubt on the entire document

5 Formal elements of a report  Communication (Letter) of transmittal  Title page  Abstract  Table of contents  List of illustrations  Executive summary  Glossary  Main Body  Appendices

6 Components of a Technical Report  Communication (Letter) of Transmittal  A statement of title and purpose of report.  A statement of who authorized the project and when  A statement of method used in the project or of the principal results, conclusion and recommendations.  An acknowledgement of any assistance you received in preparing the material.  Title Page  Title  Name and position of author(s)  Name and position of principle readers/intended audience  Date of submission

7 Components of a report  Abstract  Short, self-contained capsule of the report  Executive Summary  One page extended summary of report contents  Intended for management  Glossary  Alphabetical list of definitions

8 Progress Report  Introduction  Purpose of report  Initial report  Brief background/overview of project, time period of project overall, your role, current status of project  Subsequent reports  Time period covered, current status of project  Work completed  Time period covered by report  Major tasks – level of achievement  Work schedule for next period  Time period covered  Major tasks  Expected outcomes  Special sections  As requested (e.g. reasons, recommendations, detail on specific aspects…)

9 Proposals  Audience  External or internal ?  How knowledgeable ? How involved ? Authority ?  Know the problem and context  Objectives  Use lots of visual aids  Figures, tables, charts, plans  Technical perspective  Management perspective  Time, resources, risk  Financial perspective  Same format as technical report

10 Typical Scenarios Technical Report Academic Paper  Your role  Expert  Audience  Professionals, managers and users with shared understanding of field  Aim  Presenting a case and drawing conclusions  Style  Clear, simple  Easy to search and read  Lots of examples  Purpose  To inform  To persuade  Currency, lifespan  Generally focus on current topics  Expire quickly  Your role  Learner/Contributor  Audience  Diverse range of those involved in academia + other areas  Aim  Exploring questions and issues in area contributing to and opening areas  Style  Contextualised, clear  Cohesive and coherent  Strategic use of examples  Purpose  To inform and share  To gain feedback for evolution  Currency, lifespan  May focus on topics of more age  Long lifespan

11 Presentations  Avoid!  Death by Powerpoint  Powerpoint Karaoke  Know the difference between Lecture and Presentation  Powerful Powerpoint Tips 

12 Presentation – things to think about  Difficult to retain spoken information  Attention Fluctuates  Coloured by presenter  Speaker can provide clarification  Be consistent  Think about the font  Can people see it ?  Don’t get carried away with visuals  Know your audience  Practice

13 Email  Useful Assumptions  The recipient (person you are emailing) potentially gets a lot of email  You need something from the recipient and plan on pitching it via email  You either  Do not know the recipient  They are is an acquaintance  They are your manager  Or they are a close friend/colleague and you’re asking for an unusual request.  Reader may mis-interpret what you say.  You need to construct an email that:  Will actually be read  Will actually be understood  Will not annoy the receiver  Does not take up too much time on the receiver’s end.

14 Email  Length  Keep email short and to the point  If you have more to say include it in an attachment  Assume that at some point it could be made public  Subject  Always include a subject  E-mail messages without a subject may not be opened  Subject contents  Keep the subject short and clear – avoid SPAM words  Greetings  Start the message with a greeting  Friendly but business like  Be wary of informal greeting prefer ‘Good morning’, ‘Good Afternoon’ over ‘Hi’  Always include a greeting  Use first name if you have communicated with the receiver previously and he/she is at a similar level to you.  Use surname if the receiver is more senior to you and you have a formal relationship or if you have not communicated previously e.g. Dear Mr CX, Dear Ms Y  Greetings are particularly important when you are in a management position.

15 Email  Purpose  Give clear indication of what the message is about in the first paragraph  Expand in the following paragraphs  End with what should happen next e.g. I will be in contact early next week with further progress report. e.g. Please respond with your comments by end of day.  Action  Any action that you want the reader to do should be clearly described, using polite phrases.  Subordinates should use expressions such as 'Could you...' or ' I would be grateful if...'.  Superior staff should also use polite phrases, for example, 'Please...'  Attachments  Make sure you refer, in the main message, to any attachments you are adding and of course make extra sure that you remember to include the attachment(s).  If you use an attachment, make sure the file name describes the content, and is not too general  Beware of SPAM file types (e.g..exe,.pps)  Ending  End the message in a polite way. Common endings are:  Best Regards, Regards  Include your name at the end of the message.  Include contact details.

16 Email  Font matters  Don’t use CAPITALS  Format matters  Tone matters  Do not request read receipts  Keep it short  Keep it clear  Be careful with your CC  CC is for people not directly involved – do not need to act or reply – more an FYI  Never use bcc  Unless you are sending a batch email and privacy is factor (i.e. you can’t disclose email addresses to other correspondents)  Remember they will see the To and the CC  Remember to attach!  Reply All ???  Think about it ?

17 Social Media/Web presence  Facebook  Think of it like someone visiting your desk  Be selective (friends, apps etc)  Limit time on Facebook  Think of your audience  You are creating a public presence so be careful  17 people fired because of facebook postings   Same for Twitter  As if your boss can overhear you  Discussion groups  Be polite  Ask and respond appropriately  Blogs

18 General Comments  Know the purpose  Know your role  Know your audience  Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)  Pay attention to ‘house’ style  Formality pays until asked for informality

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