Technical writing is about much more than technology; it refers to any writing that explains a process—any process. Technical writing classes can teach you how to write clearly about any given topic. Here are three essential skills that you can gain from taking a technical writing course.
Understand Your Audience
The first thing that you need to be able to do as a technical writer is connect with your audience, and audience analysis will allow you to understand important facts about the people you’re writing to. The following list provides examples of questions you’ll want to ask about your audience before writing your document:
- What do they already know?
- What do they need to know?
- Why do they need this information?
- What is their professional environment?
- What are their cultural backgrounds?
- Are there any obstacles that might hinder their ability to use or implement this information?
- What potential concerns might they have about the information being presented?
- What is the best delivery method for this information?
Understanding the unique needs of your audience will allow you to create effective technical communications that resonate with your audience.
Refine Your Research Skills
As a technical writer, you must be able to learn about specialized topics to communicate important information about that topic to the designated audience. There are a several research techniques that are commonly incorporated into the technical writing process:
- Review previous versions of the document.
- Read books, articles, company documents, and other relevant materials pertaining to the subject matter.
- Obtain a product prototype to simulate the processes you are documenting (if applicable).
- Interview subject matter experts to answer any remaining questions and gain additional insight.
- Observe the process in action, whether through an on-site demonstration or computer simulation.
All of these tasks increase your knowledge, contributing to the success of your document and building your credibility within the institution.
Write Clear, Concise Copy
In today’s fast-paced world, information needs to be quickly communicated and easily understood. There are many benefits to writing clear, concise copy.
- Comprehension: Writing short, effective sentences improves the clarity of your document, allowing complicated concepts to be easily understood by nonspecialists.
- Efficiency: If your instructions are easy to understand, your designated audience can immediately begin to apply the concepts to perform tasks at hand.
- Translation: Clarity is essential when writing for a global audience. Accurate translation of your content depends upon the translator’s comprehension of your text.
All organizations need clear communication. Whether you’re writing policies and procedures or user manuals, brevity is your friend.
Technical writing training classes can make you a more effective communicator. We offer several technical writing classes to help you sharpen your skills.