2Technical Communications in the Real World Communication, both oral and written, is extremely important in the business world. The best communicators are often the most successful people. Steve Jobs was an excellent communicator.Image:
3Why do engineers need to communicate? Living in a “sound bite” world, engineers must learn to communicate effectively … If we place our trust solely in the primacy of logic and technical skills, we will lose the contest for the public’s attention—and in the end, both the public and the engineer will be the loser.-Norman Augustine, chair of the Human Space Flight Committee
4Today's Learning Objectives After today’s class, students will be able to:Define technical communication, especially in engineering.Explain at least three differences between technical communication and high school writing.Discuss at least two specific uses for technical communication in engineering.Describe written forms of technical communication.
5What is Technical Communication? A method of sharing information about specialized subjectsExamples include:Laboratory reports and memosProject contract or bid proposalAssembly instructions for a toyUser guide for softwareDrug prescriptionPatentsTechnical articles and publicationsBe sure to support the idea that it is a way to present and share information and the our different written forms of technical writing we will be using.Will review the four types later.
6Written Communication In This Class Four types of written documents:Executive SummaryLab MemoLab ReportProject NotebookStart simple and gradually increase in detail, content sections, and overall sizeExecutive SummaryLab MemoLab ReportProject NotebookCompleting these different types of technical writing and speaking will prepare you for your future careers and possible post-graduate research
7Written Communication Executive Summary:This short document (1-2 pages) provides a brief overview of the lab and contains key facts, results, and conclusions.Lab Memo:This document is formatted like a standard business memo. Its purpose is to report the data, observations, and results obtained in lab.Lab Report:This document is more formal than a Memo and contains additional sections with more detailed information.Project Notebook:This large document serves to record your team’s activities and progress through completion of an extensive design/build task.Executive summary: provides an overview of a larger project or study, gives a synopsis of a large document in a brief and concise formLab memo: a little larger than a summary; contains data, observations and results in a brief formatLab reports: prepared for team projects and procedures which require extensive processes and tasksProject notebook: The project notebook serves as a way of documenting your team’s activities and progress through completion of an extensive design/build task.
8Key Techniques Technical Communication Style: Use 3rd Person Use Past TenseAvoid Emotional StatementsUse Passive Voice DeliberatelyUse Short SentencesUse Bulleted and Numbered ListsIntroduction To Ethics
9Using the Technical Communication Guide The Technical Communication Guide aids students and contains:An introduction to technical communicationAn explanation of the different types of written and verbal presentation assignments in the classA description of helpful software tools and grammatical rulesCan be found on the ENGR 1182 ‘Content’ page.Navigate it by using the index and clicking on the section you wish to go to.
10Technical Communication vs. High School Writing ExpositoryInformativeDouble spacedOften Single SpacedEssay formatProfessional formatDescriptiveConcise and preciseLength requirementShort is preferredInstructors should take time to stress the difference between the writing the students did in high school versus the writing they will be doing now.No more trying to reach a certain length, using fluff and adding and exuberant amount of detail, or taking into account the users emotion when performing the lab.Optional Question to Class: Has anyone written other documents in other contexts beside those I’ve just described? Handle as responses vary. Science fairs, Robot Competitions, Eagle Scout projects all come a bit closer to being Technical Communications.Technical communication should be thought of as “workplace writing.” It is VERY different from the writing many of you have done for school.It is also VERY different from blogging on the Internet, Instant Messaging with friends, Tweeting, Texting and so on!!Those who write for work are in a formal, for-pay environment. They would NEVER write a workplace document in the style or format of a TEXT.Optional Question to Class: How many of you , text or tweet?To Whom are you sending these messages?How are those audiences different from “workplace writing?”Professional engineers at work are intent upon solving a problem, conveying information or persuading another person at work based upon facts and data.No one at work has time to read “essays” and they would be offended by casual or informal communication because their time is valuable to them and to the organization.Informality is just not acceptable at work.So Technical Communication style, format and conventions were developed to help professionals transmit their message using precise language and very specific formats, like memos that are acceptable to everyone concerned with work.Memos are usually short, internal documents that people at work use to convey message for many purposes and on many topics.
11Written Communication in the Form of Emails Consider your audience.Content and phrasing needs to be adjusted according to the audience’s expectations.At OSU, professors, GTAs, and UTAs should be considered a formal audience.Consider the many people with whom you communicate daily. Do you adjust the method (channel) of your communication and the words you use based upon the receiver of your message?Would you deliver the same message to your closest friends that you would give to your boss at work, your teachers, or your parents or grandparents?Each time you communicate with someone, you need to adjust the content and phrasing of the message and how you communicate it to “match” your perception of that person’s expectations. You get clues about how to make these adjustments from experience and advice from others.These adjustments need to be made for your communication at Ohio State University as well.
12GuidelinesInclude a brief, informative subject line in your .Example:Question about the homework for the Technical Communication Class
13Email Guidelines Include a greeting to open your Email. Examples: Dear Instructor Corrigan:Dear Dr. Abrams:It is important to use the proper title for the person(s) you are addressing in the .
14Email Guidelines Your message should be written in a formal style. Use regular sentence capitalization and punctuation.Use full sentences.Check spelling.Use formatting to divide your message.Use short paragraphs.Include headings.In your message, use a more formal style rather than a “text-message” style.Write using regular sentence capitalization and punctuation. Write your message in full sentences. Always check your spelling and eliminate any typos or misspellings.Use formatting to divide your message if it is complex or longer than three sentences.Use short paragraphs. Include headings such as Background, Need Extra Review Sheet, or Request an Appointment to organize the message for easier reading.
15GuidelinesInclude a Closing with your full name and your contact information.Example:Thanks for your help,Lauren Corrigan,
16Example 1Dear Instructor Corrigan: Hello, I'm Mi Yang from your ENGR 1181 in Spring I have been admitted by the University of Houston, University of Texas at Dallas, and Fordham University at New York, I have accepted the offer from University of Houston. I am really grateful for your kindness and help. I will always remember and be thankful for how you inspired me in your class and how you supported me to pursue a higher education in a Master’s program. Sincerely, Mi Yang The Ohio State University
17Example 2I MISSED CLASS YESTERDAY AND I WANT TO KNOW IF I MISSED ANYTHING OR WHAT. IF THERE IS A HANDOUT, I EXPECT YOU TO SEND IT TO ME BEFORE TOMORROW SINCE I WAS NOT THERE. IF THERE ARE DIRECTIONS OR WHATEVER THAT GO WITH THE HANDOUT SEND THOSE, TOO. BUT NOT IN WORD 8 BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE THAT. IT HAS TO BE WORD OK?
18Important Takeaways Different from High School Writing concise and precisecontains bulleted and numbered lists, as neededSpecifically styled and formatted (e.g. lab memo)3rd person, past tense, and passive voicefree of emotional statementsUsed for written and verbal communicationUse the Technical Communications Guide Resources Page