Professional Writing for Technical and Engineering Professionals

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

Successfully conveying complicated content to an audience that may include end-users is vital and can greatly enhance the value of products and services. This training course provides a complete process for planning, writing, and editing technical documents, including assessing the needs of the audience /users, selecting document formats, and making effective use of graphics.

This workshop will assist engineers and technical professionals in producing written material in the workplace for non-technical internal and external audiences. Participants will learn how to present complex technical information in a simple and clear format.

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

The program is designed for anyone who wishes to develop their technical writing abilities to a professional level. Students will learn the writing process, use of graphic organizers, 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. Participants will review grammatical fundamentals and strategies for communicating technical content to non-technical readers. ?

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Topics Covered In This Course

Elements of Effective Technical Writing

  • The Writing Process
  • The Craft of Clear Technical Writing
  • Differences between technical and non-technical communication
  • 7 characteristics of good technical writing
  • 10 Qualities of an Effective Technical Document
  • Ways to Make Your Technical Documents Shout ?Read Me!? 3

Tasks of the Technical Writer

  • Letters
  • eMail
  • Manuals
  • Software documentation
  • Proposals
  • Reports
  • Abstracts
  • Technical papers
  • Articles
  • Audio-visual presentations
  • Graphics
  • Product information
  • Web
  • ?Living? documents Getting Ready to Write
  • The Writing Process
  • Using Graphic Organizers to Start the Writing Process
  • Eliminating misconceptions that stall technical writing
  • Driving your document design with scenarios
  • Focusing on a document's purposes Assessing Your Audience
  • Identifying your purpose and the reader's purpose
  • What the audience brings to the table Audience-Driven Document Design
  • Relating document structure to the audience
  • Technical Document to Technical Audience
  • Technical Document to Non-Technical Audience
  • Recognizing the varieties of user manuals
  • Developing reference manuals and white papers
  • One Document vs Two Documents Covering the Knowledge Domain
  • Exposing tacit knowledge
  • Knowing when you've "covered it all"
  • Organizing using the audience's scenarios Principles of Technical Composition
  • Executive Summaries, Body, Conclusion and Recommendation sections
  • 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 4
  • Making writing more powerful with visual description
  • Rules for handling tenses
  • Making writing more readable by keeping sections, paragraphs, and sentences short
  • Topic sentences
  • How to keep ideas parallel
  • Informal vs. formal, professional vs. conversational? which style is best?
  • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Levels; Fog Index 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 Architecting Sentences That Communicate
  • Creating sentences with clarity
  • Building clarity through sentence focus
  • Solving common grammar problems in technical writing Managing Style In Technical Writing
  • Evaluating readability using the Given/New technique
  • Ensuring consistency with a style guide
  • Eliminating reader recycling Building Documents
  • Tutorials and standard operating procedures
  • Designing two styles of tutorials
  • Structuring sentences and sections
  • Handling introductions and conclusions How to Write Numbers, Units, Equations, and Symbols
  • Rules for Writing Numbers
  • 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 Leveraging and Formatting Tables and Lists
  • Organizing data to support readers' scenarios
  • Determining when to use a list
  • Exploiting tables for highly structured data Maintaining Document Structure
  • Building cohesive documents 5
  • Applying useful headings to support skimming Methods of Development
  • Problems-methods-results
  • Effect and cause
  • Order of importance 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, company jargon 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: Recommend the next step Special Concerns of the Technical Writer
  • How to write for the web
  • 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:

  • Assess your audience and develop documents to meet their needs
    • Focus on your purpose and the reader's needs (understand your audience)
    • Understand the differences between academic, business and technical writing
    • Use Graphic Organizers to formulate main ideas and messages
    • Structure and present complex topics more effectively
    • Recognize choices writers make when putting ideas on paper and
    • Make efficient use of writing time
    • Build effective sentences and sections that explain information clearly
    • Write in a crisp and clean style
    • Persuade readers you're right 2
    • Make ideas flow smoothly
    • Weed out wasted words
    • Energize your verbs
    • Catch the right tone
    • Add eye appeal
    • Sharpen editing skills
    • Employ diagrams, tables, charts, and other graphical tools effectively
    • Create informative content that your readers will understand and use
    • 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
    • Write effective technical documents, manuals, and white papers
    • 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

Participants should have some knowledge of basic writing mechanics and composition.

Training Style

Instructor-led, group-paced, classroom-delivery learning model with structured hands-on activities. Actual samples are used throughout the presentation as examples, for critiques, as exercises, and to illustrate and dramatize techniques presented in the classroom.

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Related Courses
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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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