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:
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
Typical Artefacts Used Professionally Proposals Feasibility Studies Technical Reports User documentation Progress Reports Technical documentation Presentations Memos Letters Minutes s Wikis Blogs Discussion boards Web site Social media CVs Letters Personal statements/essays
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
Formal elements of a report Communication (Letter) of transmittal Title page Abstract Table of contents List of illustrations Executive summary Glossary Main Body Appendices
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
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
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…)
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
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
Presentations Avoid! Death by Powerpoint Powerpoint Karaoke Know the difference between Lecture and Presentation Powerful Powerpoint Tips
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
Useful Assumptions The recipient (person you are ing) potentially gets a lot of You need something from the recipient and plan on pitching it via 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 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.
Length Keep 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 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.
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.
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 and privacy is factor (i.e. you can’t disclose addresses to other correspondents) Remember they will see the To and the CC Remember to attach! Reply All ??? Think about it ?
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
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