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Technical Writing The link for good workplace/professional communication Part 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Technical Writing The link for good workplace/professional communication Part 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Technical Writing The link for good workplace/professional communication Part 1

2 “ Technical” or “Business” writing is very different from “Academic” writing. Each has its unique purpose and format to follow. “ Technical” or “Business” writing is very different from “Academic” writing. Each has its unique purpose and format to follow.

3 Technical writing is done in the workplace and centers around technical topics. Technical writing has unique characteristics and has specific audiences.

4 Why the Differences? Time management Time management Variety of Readers Variety of Readers Reading for different reasons Reading for different reasons

5 “Differences” Business leaders don’t have the time in their day to sift through many pages, searching for the information they need to know and

6  Technical writing will have many different readers, reading different parts of the work. - a project manager, financial officer, CEO, and supervisor might all read parts that pertain to their jobs, then discuss as a team the merits of the proposal. “Differences”

7 This PowerPoint will: This PowerPoint will: Explore the differences between academic and technical writingExplore the differences between academic and technical writing Explain the components and style of technical writingExplain the components and style of technical writing

8 Technical vs. Academic Writing

9 Technical versus Academic Knowledge Knowledge You are the expertYou are the expert Knowledge Knowledge You are still a learner

10 Technical versus Academic Audience Audience Technical background, professional s in the fieldTechnical background, professional s in the field Audience Audience Wide range of academics and general audiences

11 Technical versus Academic Criteria for Evaluation Criteria for Evaluation Clear and simple organizatio n,Clear and simple organizatio n, Visually appealing and easy to follow.Visually appealing and easy to follow. Criteria for Evaluation Criteria for Evaluation Depth, logic, clarity, unity and grammar

12 Technical versus Academic Graphics, charts, and numbers are used very frequently to support conclusions Graphics, charts, and numbers are used very frequently to support conclusions  Graphics, charts, and numbers are sometimes used to help explain and demonstrate knowledge

13 Characteristics of Technical Writing Clear, Concise and simply organized. Clear, Concise and simply organized. Repetitive in nature. Repetitive in nature. Highly defined structure/format. Highly defined structure/format. Examples: Lab reports, memos, business letters, technical reports, and proposalsExamples: Lab reports, memos, business letters, technical reports, and proposals

14 Compare These Statements: Looking into Looking into the azure blue sky one could see the golden orb of sun slip gently beneath the western sky. The sun set in the west. The sun set in the west.

15 The left-side description of the sun setting is an example of academic writing and the right-side description is an example of technical writing.

16 Notice that the technical description is clear, concise, and coherent. These three C’s are trademarks of technical writing.

17 Assignment: Find an article out of a Popular Mechanics magazine. Compare the first two or three paragraphs of that article with a passage from one of your favorite novels using the following categories: Find an article out of a Popular Mechanics magazine. Compare the first two or three paragraphs of that article with a passage from one of your favorite novels using the following categories: Content, Organization, Layout, Intended Audience, Purpose, Tone.Content, Organization, Layout, Intended Audience, Purpose, Tone. You should notice a distinct difference in each of the categories, leading to how each is distinct in its clarity, coherence, and conciseness.You should notice a distinct difference in each of the categories, leading to how each is distinct in its clarity, coherence, and conciseness.

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19 Style in Technical Writing Writers have unique characteristics. Writers have unique characteristics. Sentence structure, word length word choice, and word order; these are choices we make without being conscious of it. These decisions shape the way we express ourselvesSentence structure, word length word choice, and word order; these are choices we make without being conscious of it. These decisions shape the way we express ourselves Style is personal choice, there is no right or wrong here Style is personal choice, there is no right or wrong here

20 Tone- Expression of an underlying attitude that can be: CasualCasual ObjectiveObjective PersuasivePersuasive Enthusiastic Serious Authoritative Friendly **Always present your material in a positive light. Never let the negative be presented.

21 The following tips lend themselves to better clarity and cohesion in technical writing.

22 Sentence Tips Place the main point at the beginning of the sentence Place the main point at the beginning of the sentence **Don’t make the reader work to find it.

23 Sentence Tips Use one main clause in each sentence Use one main clause in each sentence **more becomes Confusing.

24 Sentence Tips Examine your copy to make sure you vary the sentence length –but aim for words per sentence. If you use the same length sentences, the text becomes tedious to read Examine your copy to make sure you vary the sentence length –but aim for words per sentence. If you use the same length sentences, the text becomes tedious to read

25 Conciseness Tips  Avoid the repeated use of pronouns, this confuses the reader. Only use a pronoun immediately following the noun it represents. Try to use specific nouns such as the person’s name, or the specific piece of equipment, etc. In place of abstract nouns

26 Assessment of- Assessment of- Classification of- Classification of- Computation of- Computation of- Development of- Development of- Elimination of- Elimination of- Requirement of- Requirement of- Abstract Nouns

27 Conciseness Tips Focus on strong verbs! Assess Assess Classify Classify Compute Compute Develop Develop Eliminate Eliminate Require Require

28 Conciseness Tips Shorten wordy phrases Shorten wordy phrases Replace long words with short ones Replace long words with short ones Leave out clichés Leave out clichés Cut out extra words that are redundant Cut out extra words that are redundant

29 Language Use Tips Distinguish facts from opinions Distinguish facts from opinions Include supportive statements when necessary Include supportive statements when necessary Choose your words carefully Choose your words carefully Avoid using words like “always” and “never”—these box the writer in and create finality Avoid using words like “always” and “never”—these box the writer in and create finality

30 Active Voice Active voice—emphasizes the doer or the subject Active voice—emphasizes the doer or the subject “Joe delivered the pizza within the specified time frame.” Active voice uses one verb “delivered” compared to passive voice which uses a form of the verb “to be” + the verb--- ”was delivered” Almost all technical writing should be done in the active voice, except lab reports.

31 Active Voice helps: Create less wordy sentencesCreate less wordy sentences Places emphasis on the subject—e.g. company or person’s namePlaces emphasis on the subject—e.g. company or person’s name

32 Passive Voice Passive voice—emphasizes the recipient of the action Passive voice—emphasizes the recipient of the action Verbs with the “to be” formVerbs with the “to be” form Emphasize the receiver of the actionEmphasize the receiver of the action Avoid repetitious use of “I” and namesAvoid repetitious use of “I” and names Is it the roses or the receiver of the roses that is important to the giver?

33 Examples of editing for conciseness

34 “the passage of the levy was accomplished through long and hard negotiations, and door to door canvassing.”“the passage of the levy was accomplished through long and hard negotiations, and door to door canvassing.”Revised: “The levy pass through long and hard work.”“The levy pass through long and hard work.”

35 “Confirmation of the voting results occurred yesterday.” “Confirmation of the voting results occurred yesterday.”Revised “The voting results were confirmed yesterday.” “The voting results were confirmed yesterday.”

36 Technical Writing Provides clear communication in the workplace Provides clear communication in the workplace Has unique formats and a specific style of writing Has unique formats and a specific style of writing Creates clarity, conciseness and coherency in writing Creates clarity, conciseness and coherency in writing

37 Closure Welcome to a new style of writing. Hopefully the handouts that accompany these Presentations will help you take your first steps to become a Technical Writer.


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