“It’s New Job Season” Part 1: A Different Way of Thinking About you Cover Letters

The first quarter is traditionally a strong hiring season for companies, and also a time when people turn to thoughts of new jobs and career paths. Professional communication skills are key to taking advantage of those opportunities, particularly in engineering and the sciences. In a series of posts called "It's New Job Season," we're going explore … [Read more...]

‘What’ are my team members? Getting engineers to see the ‘who’: Part Three

In my last post, I talked about some team process development strategies for teams that are coming together to create effective ways of working together. The focus of these posts has been on getting to see ‘who’ your team members are, and learning to understand them (their interests, their objectives, and their behaviours) in a way that allows you … [Read more...]

Cutting the Fluff from your Writing

Good professional technical writing involves a struggle between conciseness and completeness. Writers need to provide the evidence and reasoning to justify their claims in the shortest space possible. Cutting too much or the wrong things, however, can damage your ability to support your decisions. It's important, then, to be able to differentiate … [Read more...]

Simplified Technical English and Clearer Documentation through the Thumbs Up Technique (3/3)

As discussed in the beginning of this first article, Simplified Technical English (STE) is generally considered as being of great importance for writing clear and unambiguous content, mainly for user instructions like maintenance manuals. In this series of three articles, Ferry Vermeulen, MSc. will show three steps that will help to apply … [Read more...]

Simplified Technical English and Clearer Documentation through the Thumbs Up Technique (2/3)

As discussed in the beginning of this first article, Simplified Technical English (STE) is generally considered as being of great importance for writing clear and unambiguous content, mainly for user instructions like maintenance manuals.  In this series of three articles, Ferry Vermeulen, MSc. will show three steps that will help to apply … [Read more...]

How to Implement Simplified Technical English and Write Clearer Documentation with the Thumbs Up Technique (Part 1/3)

Simplified Technical English (STE) is generally considered as being of great importance for writing clear and unambiguous content, mainly for user instructions like maintenance manuals. However, many technical writers experience specific problems when implementing STE. Although theoretically possible, STE is not an easy language to learn by … [Read more...]

Using Numbers in Technical Documents

For engineers, like physicists, numbers are as important as words in reporting on their work, and carry much of the meaning behind their technical documents. However, how we write these numbers - and how we integrate them with text - may determine a reader’s understanding of that report. For example, take this passage: "An appropriate sample … [Read more...]

Create Highly Functioning Virtual Teams with the Help of Metacommunication

Most virtual teams are established with nothing more than a goal, a list of team members, and a lot of trial and error.  Miscommunication in these global teams is common and can cost companies millions in lost production.  Not only do companies lose out, but individuals often and needlessly experience frustration, confusion, and loss of … [Read more...]

Audience Analysis as Part of a Strategic Communication Framework

Understanding your audience often discussed as one of the most important steps of the communication process; however, it is often the least well practiced and understood stage as well, largely because most documents (or other forms of communication) have multiple audiences, with multiple needs. In her Strategic Communication Framework, Debbie Davy … [Read more...]

Debbie Davy on a Strategic Communication Framework for Technical Communication

A systematic process can significantly improve your communication practices and outcomes, especially in technical communication contexts. In this short video, Debbie Davy briefly outlines the need for and describes her Strategic Communication Framework. Her framework was presented in depth at the IEEE PCS Conference in Limerick, Ireland in July … [Read more...]