Effective Technical Writing

Course:  EFFWRT
Duration:  2 Days
Level:  I
Course Summary

This is an intensive training session on how to write clear, crisp, technically accurate copy for emails, letters, memos, proposals, reports, instructions, articles, papers, websites and other technical documents.

The Technical Writing program is designed for anyone who wishes to develop their technical writing abilities to a professional level. Students will learn research methods, audience considerations, style, drafting and revision techniques, how to work in a collaborative environment and more.

This workshop will assist writers to prepare clear and precise technical documents. It is designed to teach the principles and techniques of readable writing. Topics include: how to organize and present complex ideas more effectively, how to recognize choices writers make when putting ideas on paper and how to make efficient use of writing time and how to write in a crisp and clean style.

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Topics Covered In This Course

Elements of Effective Technical Writing

  • Differences between technical and non-technical communication
  • 7 characteristics of good technical writing

Tasks of the Technical Writer

  • Letters
  • Manuals
  • Software documentation
  • Proposals
  • Reports
  • Abstracts
  • Technical papers
  • Articles
  • Audio-visual presentations
  • Product information

How to Write Numbers, Units, Equations, and Symbols

  • Proper formats for using numbers and units of measure in written documents
  • How to write equations and symbols
  • Alternatives to narrative form for handling presentation of numerical data
  • Additional tips for handling non-text (graphic) material in your copy

Fundamentals of Grammar

  • Key grammatical rules for technical writers
  • Proper use of punctuation marks
  • Guidelines for proper use of abbreviations
  • Guidelines for capitalization
  • Basic spelling rules

Principles of Technical Composition

  • Use of active vs. passive voice
  • Use of simple vs. complex language
  • How to write more concisely
  • Use of specific and concrete terms vs. vague, general language
  • Making writing more powerful with visual description
  • Rules for handling tenses
  • Making writing more readable by keeping sections, paragraphs, and sentences short
  • How to keep ideas parallel
  • Informal vs. formal, professional vs. conversational— which style is best?

Use of Words and Phrases

  • How to tell the difference between correct technical terminology vs. unnecessary jargon
  • Why you should substitute small words for big words
  • How to eliminate wordy phrases and redundancy from your writing
  • Why you should avoid cliches, corporatese and overblown phrases
  • Rules for using nouns as adjectives
  • Misused and troublesome words and phrases
  • How to avoid sexist language
  • How to achieve a contemporary style

Principles of Organization

  • How to organize your material to suit the reader's needs
  • 9 ways to organize a technical document for easy reading
  • Use and misuse of executive summaries, leads, and warm-up paragraphs
  • How to separate fact from opinion in your writing
  • Use of headings and subheads to organize technical documents

Principles of Communication and Persuasion

  • Do technical documents merely inform—or do they also persuade?
  • How to gain your reader's attention in the first paragraph
  • Use of facts, opinions, and statistics to prove your case
  • How to determine when you are giving too much detail
  • How to get the reader on your side
  • How to get the reader to take the next step

Special Concerns of the Technical Writer

  • How to quickly gain specialized background knowledge in technical fields
  • The collaboration between the writer and the client/technical expert—who does what?
  • How to write effectively within the guidelines determined by your supervisor or corporate style guide
  • What to do if the subject matter is too technical for you to understand
  • What to do if technical experts you must work with or interview are uncooperative, arrogant, or poor communicators
  • Tips for making a boring topic more exciting
  • How to write for a specific audience
What You Can Expect

At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Focus on your purpose and the reader's needs (understand your audience)
  • Organize to highlight main messages
  • Persuade readers you're right
  • Make ideas flow smoothly
  • Weed out wasted words
  • Energize your verbs
  • Catch the right tone
  • Add eye appeal
  • Sharpen editing skills
  • Understand the differences between academic and technical writing
  • Develop effective research methods
  • Learn to consider the needs and abilities of the audience
  • Learn how to incorporate clarity and utility
  • Develop job-hunting and resume-writing skills
  • Become aware of ethical issues in technical writing
  • Learn stylistic methods for effective writing
  • Learn how to work as part of a team.
Who Should Take This Course

This course is intended for anyone who desires to develop their technical writing ability to a professional level.

Recommended Prerequisites

There are no specific prerequisites for this workshop.

Training Style

Instructor-led, group-paced, classroom-delivery learning model with structured hands-on activities.

If possible, the instructor would like to receive writing samples from students in advance of the seminar date. In addition, if there are specific templates used within the organization, the instructor would demonstrate their function.

The seminar is tailored to your specific needs based on this information. Actual samples are used throughout the presentation as examples, for critiques, as exercises, and to illustrate and dramatize techniques presented in the classroom.

In addition, we further customize by going through the course agenda with you and having you tell us which items you want stressed and emphasized. There is no extra charge for this customization.

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Related Courses
Code Course Title Duration Level
Conducting Effective Meetings
1 Day
Professional Writing for Technical and Engineering Professionals
2 Days

Every student attending a Verhoef Training class will receive a certificate good for $100 toward their next public class taken within a year.

You can also buy "Verhoef Vouchers" to get a discounted rate for a single student in any of our public or web-based classes. Contact your account manager or our sales office for details.

Schedule For This Course
There are currently no public sessions scheduled for this course. We can schedule a private class for your organization just a couple of weeks from now. Or we can let you know the next time we do schedule a public session.
Notify me the next time this course is confirmed!
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