"Technical" and/or "Professional" communicators may not always be called as such, and some one who writes technical or profession documents may not be called a communicator., Nonetheless, communication in the workplace is needed, and it is important to know how to communicate across boundaries.
Genres of Technical and Professional Communication, Characteristics of Technical and Professional Communication
Rhetoric - using language to communicate effectively whether it be written, spoken, or visual., to influence others' thoughts and actions., Thinking rhetorically in workplace writing means considering how documents solve problems, affect an audience, and ultimately reflect one's credibility as a worker., A workplace writer solves problems by integrating a variety of perspectives and ideas into understandable documents and giving useful results everyone can comprehend., Thinking rhetorically involves making choices about how to best reach readers and users.
Those who communicate technical and professional information must be highly aware of their audiences and the needs of those audiences to -use- the information contained in technical documents., Technical Communicator's adage: Audience, audience, audience., Internal audience (colleagues, co-workers inside organization) & external audience (readers outside of organization)., Audiences determine many factors in the document, such as genre, style, level of formality, level of detail, format, design, and length.
We now communicate through many different technological mediums: e-mail, telephone, texts, video and telephone conferences, electronic databases, the internet., Soft and hard copies - so maybe for websites, e-mail distribution, or other media.
A practical, tangible matter dealing with specific issues and circumstances., Important because we live in the real world with real consequences, Technical and professional communicators produce, shape, and convey information to audiences that use that information for varying purposes.
Clear and effective documents are produces only after writers have carried out the necessary research., Can be multifaceted and context specific., The type of research is dictated by the purpose of the document being produced.
Must be abundantly clear and accessible to users., Accessible: the documents describe every aspect and provide every detail about the subject that an audience needs; the documents follow the conventions of correct grammar, punctuations, usage, and style., If you're not sure of your audience, it is always better to be a bit more formal and professional in your technical writing than to be overly casual and informal.
All writing in the workplace employs visuals and graphics to some degree in order to provide clear, readable, and pragmatic information to the audience., Visual elements range from font used to choice of design and medium, the inclusion of images and graphics - and all affect how information is conveyed to the readers.
Documents should be neat, professional, and formatted correctly., Document architecture: the way words and visuals appear on a document or screen.
Remove superfluous words, phrases, sentences - keep your document clear, As much information in a smaller amount of space, Put your sentences on a strict diet!
Rhetoric : the art of speaking or writing effectively, as the study of writing or speaking as a means of communications or persuasion., allows speakers or writers options.
An exigency (a situation, event, or impetus) that causes a workplace problem that needs to be solved, A workplace writer whose purpose is to produce documents that help solve problems, An audience that can receive, understand, and use the document to help solve problems., A particular kind of document that serves as the medium between the writer and the audience, Contextual factors and constraints that influence writers, audiences, and documents during problem-solving activities.
Documents serve many different purposes: to inform, to define, to explain, to propose, or to convince., Documents can have more than one purpose, The Plan stage of the problem-solving approach allows writers to discover the purposes of their writing. The first two items in this stage deal specifically with problem solving and purpose for writing., Must consider audience as well as ways to meet the purpose for writing in an ethical fashion.
Audiences vary significantly, Audiences have expectations and attitudes, Audiences use documents differently, Multiple audiences often read documents
Good workplace writers always consider the ways their writing reflects their ethos (character or credibility), Writers achieve credibility when their documents are produced correctly., Writers want to assure their audiences that they have the experience and expertise and produce documents that solve problems., Writers must be sure not to focus too much on themselves; audiences are often turned off when documents concentrate too much on the writer or the writer's organization., Writers should also show audiences that they share common ground, often that they identify with the readers' goals or perspectives., All of these elements - correctness, experience and expertise, goodwill, and identification - must be considered in relation to a writer's purpose.
Graphs, photographs, maps, tables, flowcharts, symbols & icons
provides a permanent record for both the writer and the reader.
Consider audience and purpose; consider access for people with disabilities. Good design, easy to navigate.
Grammar is the systematic way words work together to form a coherent language.
Occurs when two or more writers work together to produce a single document for which they share responsibility and decision-making authority, as is often the case with proposals.
Changes in computer technology affect not only the ways technical documents are produced and disseminated but also their content., Since the advancement of technology, we have seen a rise in acronyms to represent a phrase.
Moore's law - doubling the speed and power of computers every few years., Software advances often, and we have to learn our way around the tools to succeed as a workplace writer
There are many tools that one can use to create different time of documents.
Word Processors (Word), Presentation Software (Powerpoint), Graphics and Imaging Software (Photoshop, etc.), Web-Authoring Software (Dreamweaver), Desktop Publishing Software (Adobe InDesign), Help and E-Learning Authoring Tools (CourseLab), and Single-Sourcing Programs.
The Internet - many tools one uses are connected to the internet, The World Wide Web - networking for access, storage, multimedia use, transmission, collaboration., E-mail - the advantages of it include: speed (oh so fast!) price (FREE!), convenience, and organization
How to still communicate effectively, clearly, appropriately?, Guidelines to communicate professionally and effectively, Choose an appropriate e-mail address, Use an appropriate subject line, Respect others' bandwidth., Lurk before you leap. (Listen to convo. before you join), Polish your writing, Watch those CAPS! (Appropriate capitalization), Use attachments appropriately, Back it up and save it, Remember that when it's out there, it's out there. (Can't take those back, you know.)
Wireless technology, Bandwidth and connection speed, Integration and portability, Prices, Transnationalism
Three main types of ethics:, Metaethics, the study of where ethical ideas come from., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meta-ethics
Normative ethics, the branch of ethical studies that is concerned with classification of right and wrong., http://www.moralphilosophy.info/normativeethics.html
Applied ethics, the subject that applies ethics to actual practical problems - real-world decisions and the ramifications of an ethical issue., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Applied_ethics
Guideline #1: Ethics and Laws Are Not the Same, "Just because I can doesn't mean I should.", Liability Laws, Environmental Laws, Trademark and Service Mark Laws, Copyright Laws, Patent Laws, Contract Laws
Guideline #2: Be Honest, Pretty self-explanatory, just as simple as that: be honest. No lying, scheming, etc.
Guideline #3: Respect Confidentiality, Do not violate a co-worker's or a client's privacy
E-mail, Never quite private - can be accessed through a multitude of ways, Always confirm that your information is correct, and confirm that your info is right before forwarding on others
Websites, Make sure your sites are reliable!! Something written on a website, no matter how professional looking, may not be true. As an example, I will give one true and one false statement., I have a pet pterodactyl., I am Batman., The green arrow points to the true statement.
Visuals, Previously relied on graphic artists, With modern technologies, one can create their own images
How do our actions affect the world in which we live?, how do our actions in regard to out environments affect the quality and the length of the lives of the people who inhabit those environments?, What are the compromises we make to protect human interests over environmental interests?, Do other parts of our environments have rights, and if so, what are they?
Main key: Language. Target language, official national language, international language
Technology, Machine Translation, Helps overcome one boundary: language.
Education, Literacy, Common body of knowledge, Learning style
Politics and Law, Consider the following: trade issues, legal issues, political traditions and symbols
Economics, Comparative chart that examines the costs of common items and the relative value they have in different cultures
Society, Age, Business Etiquette, Family and Social interactions, Religion
Collaborate with the translator
Clarity, From the handbook of technical writing: avoid idioms (looking forward, company gamily), jargon (transport will be holding), contractions (I'm, don't), informal language (just e-mail or fax, Cheers), and humor/allusions.
Cultural and Rhetorical Differences, From the handbook of technical writing: What might be seen as direct and efficient in the United States could be considered blunt and even impolite in other cultures.
Localization, Adapting to product and/or translating a document for a specific local audience., General localization, Radical localization
Verbal Communication, From the handbook of technical writing: Communications such as written contracts are not so important, while communication that relies on personal relationships and shared history is paramount.
Write Clearly, Use correct punctuation, Include definite articles, Avoid using pronouns, Use terminology consistently, Avoid idiomatic language, Avoid comparatives
Recognize alphabetic differences
Use local numbers
Be alert to time differences
Avoid references to holidays
Avoid cultural references
Avoid images of people and hand gestures
Reevaluate design elements and principles
Account for differences in sound interpretation
Visuals, From the Handbook of technical writing: Select visuals carefully, and consider your audience and purpose.
A workplace example
Databases, Advantages databases, From the handbook of technical writing: Most libraries subscribe to online databases, which are available through the library's web site - easy to find articles, Disadvantages
Intranets and Archives, Advantages, Disadvantages
The World Wide Web, Advantages of the World Wide Web, Disadvantages of the World Wide Web
Blogs and Wikis, From the handbook of technical writing: External blogs and Internal blogs, External blogs are publicly available on the internet both for an organization's customers or clients and for executives, spokespeople, or employees to share their views., Internal blogs are usually created for employees and can be accessed only through the organization's intranet. Serve as newsletters...