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...]

Using a Storyboard to Plan a Presentation

Melissa Clarkson Think about the last time you began to prepare a formal presentation for a group. There is a good chance the presentation included slides. If you were not reusing an old set of slides, you probably opened up PowerPoint or Keynote, picked a template, and began creating slide content. I would like suggest a different approach to … [Read more...]

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

Three key practices for getting to know and really communicating with your team members In my last post, I spoke about engineers’ and engineering students’ bias towards seeing ‘what’ their team members produce as opposed to ‘who’ their team members are and ‘how’ they can contribute to making the team and the product better. Teams that only see the … [Read more...]

Brian Price: Peeling Back the Information Onion in Technical and Engineering Communication

Brian Price, Lecturer at Aston University, UK, explores the metaphor of the "information onion" in technical and engineering communication, which helps reveal important strategies for effectively delivering and designing information for your readers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5COPk-bwX0 His talk on "Peeling Back the Layers of the … [Read more...]

Should Organizations Adapt their Writing Style in Documents for International Audiences?

International organizations need to communicate with stakeholders with diverse cultural backgrounds. Different cultures have different values, which may have implications for how messages are evaluated across cultures. Different cultural values may lead to different stylistic preferences. Does this mean that organizations need to adjust their … [Read more...]

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

By Patricia Sheridan A three part series on a fundamental principle of effective group communication Too often I meet with engineers and engineering students whose teams are not functioning well. They will talk to me about the project, they will talk to me about the deliverables, and they will readily talk to me about the task-based competencies … [Read more...]

Audience Autonomy: Use It to Power Your Presentations

By Pat Truman Three years ago...and I still remember four simple words a presenter said to me after his presentation. His efforts had engaged us for 90 minutes. We'd learned a lot. Our enthusiasm was audible. The session had flown by. I shook his hand and thanked him. He said to me: "I am your mirror." Mystified by these words at the time, I … [Read more...]

Principles for Reuse: How to Repurpose Documentation for Different Situations

Professional communication often involves producing documentation for slightly different contexts, sometimes over the course of multiple years. Information about the same product, process, or event is often delivered to different audiences and to meet different purposes. Product specifications might need to be developed for an engineer working on … [Read more...]