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  • 1. Intro, Ethical and LegalConsiderations, TechnicalDocuments, Collaboration ENG 3302Chapter 1. Introduction to Technical Communication ©
  • 2. Table of ContentsSection Slide NumberIntro to TC 3-14Ethical and Legal Considerations 15-33Technical Documents 34-44Writing Collaboratively 45-62 Chapter 1. Introduction to Technical Communication ©
  • 3. Technical communication has two meanings:• the process of making and sharing technical information in the workplace• a set of applications—the documents you write and the presentations you deliver Chapter 1. Introduction to Technical Communication © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 3
  • 4. You have three roles as a communicator:• the writer of a document• a member of a project team• an information resource for others Chapter 1. Introduction to Technical Communication © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 4
  • 5. Technical communication affects your career:• Companies say communication skills are important.• Strong communication skills make you a more valuable employee. Chapter 1. Introduction to Technical Communication © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 5
  • 6. Technical communication has six main characteristics:• It addresses particular readers.• It helps readers solve problems.• It reflects the organization’s goals and culture.• It is produced collaboratively.• It uses design to increase readability.• It consists of words or images or both. Chapter 1. Introduction to Technical Communication © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 6
  • 7. Communicators use design features to accomplish three basic purposes:• to make the document look attractive and professional• to help readers navigate the document• to help readers understand the document Chapter 1. Introduction to Technical Communication © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 7
  • 8. Images help the writer perform five main functions:• to make the document more interesting and appealing• to communicate and reinforce difficult concepts• to communicate instructions and descriptions of objects and processes• to communicate large amounts of quantifiable data• to communicate with nonnative speakers Chapter 1. Introduction to Technical Communication © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 8
  • 9. An example of technical communication Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2005 <www.mypyramid.gov/downloads/sp-MiniPoster.pdf>. Chapter 1. Introduction to Technical Communication © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 9
  • 10. An example of technical communication Source: Sage Software, 2009 <http://download.act.com/act2010/ docs/act_usability_and_productivit y_whitepaper.pdf>. Chapter 1. Introduction to Technical Communication © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 10
  • 11. An example of technical communication Source: Marathon Technologies, 2010 <www.marathon1.co m/why_marathon_vi deo.html>. Chapter 1. Introduction to Technical Communication © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 11
  • 12. There are eight measures of excellence in technical communication:• honesty• clarity• accuracy• comprehensiveness• accessibility• conciseness• professional appearance• correctness Chapter 1. Introduction to Technical Communication © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 12
  • 13. You must communicate honestly for three reasons:• It is the right thing to do.• If you are dishonest, readers can get hurt.• If you are dishonest, you and your organization could face serious legal charges. Chapter 1. Introduction to Technical Communication © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 13
  • 14. Technical communication must be clear for two reasons:• Unclear technical communication can be dangerous.• Unclear technical communication is expensive. Chapter 1. Introduction to Technical Communication © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 14
  • 15. Ethical and Legal ConsiderationsChapter 1. Introduction to Technical Communication ©
  • 16. What is ethics?Ethics is the study of the principles ofconduct that apply to an individual ora group. Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 16
  • 17. In thinking about ethical dilemmas, four standards are useful:• Rights—individuals’ basic needs and welfare.• Justice—how the costs and benefits of an action or a policy are distributed among a group.• Utility—the positive and negative effects that an action or a policy has on others.• Care—the relationships we have with other individuals. Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 17
  • 18. You have three sets of ethical obligations: • to your employer • to the public • to the environment Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 18
  • 19. You have five obligations to your employer: • competence and diligence • generosity • honesty and candor • confidentiality • loyalty Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 19
  • 20. Four bodies of law are relevant to technical communication:• copyright law• trademark law• contract law• liability law Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 20
  • 21. Courts consider four factors in disputes over “fair use”:• the purpose and character of the use, especially whether the use is for profit• the nature and purpose of the copyrighted work• the amount and substantiality of the portion of the work used• the effect of the use on the potential market for the copyrighted work Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 21
  • 22. Adhere to these four guidelines whenyou use material from another source:• Abide by the fair-use concept.• Seek permission.• Cite your sources accurately.• Consult legal counsel if you have questions. Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 22
  • 23. There are two kinds of trademarks:• Trademark—a word, phrase, name, or symbol that is identified with a company.• Registered trademark—a word, phrase, name, or symbol that the company has registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 23
  • 24. Use four techniques to protect trademarks: • Distinguish trademarks from other material. • Use the trademark symbol (TM or ®). • Use the trademarked item as an adjective, not as a noun or a verb. • Do not use the plural form or the possessive form of the term. Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 24
  • 25. Contract law recognizes two kinds of warranties:• Express warranty—a written or oral statement that the product has a particular feature or can perform a particular function.• Implied warranty—a warranty that is not written or spoken explicitly but inferred by the purchaser. Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 25
  • 26. Follow these ten guidelines for abiding by liability laws:• Understand the product and its likely users.• Describe the product’s functions and limitations.• Instruct users on all aspects of ownership.• Use appropriate words and graphics.• Warn users about the risks of using or misusing the product. Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 26
  • 27. Follow these ten guidelines for abiding by liability laws (cont.):• Include warnings along with assertions of safety.• Make directions and warnings conspicuous.• Make sure that the instructions comply with applicable company standards and local, state, or federal statutes.• Perform usability testing on the product and on the instructions.• Make sure users receive the information. Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 27
  • 28. Four elements of an organization’s culture encourage ethical and legal behavior:• ethical leadership• supervisor reinforcement• peer support• reinforced and embedded ethical values Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 28
  • 29. An effective code of conduct has three characteristics:• It protects the public rather than members of the organization or profession.• It is specific and comprehensive.• It is enforceable. Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 29
  • 30. Companies have obligations when communicating across cultures :• They must not reinforce patterns of discrimination in product information.• They are not obligated to challenge the prevailing prejudice directly.• They must adhere to other countries’ federal and regional laws when exporting goods and services. Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 30
  • 31. Follow these ten principles for ethical communication:• Abide by relevant laws.• Abide by the appropriate professional code of conduct.• Abide by your organization’s policy on social media.• Take advantage of your employer’s ethics resources.• Tell the truth. Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 31
  • 32. Follow these ten principles for ethical communication (cont.):Don’t mislead your readers.Use design to highlight important ethical and legal information.• Be clear.• Avoid discriminatory language.• Acknowledge assistance from others. Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 32
  • 33. Avoid four common types of misleading technical communication:• false implications• exaggerations• legalistic constructions• euphemisms Chapter 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 33
  • 34. Writing Technical Documents Chapter 1. Introduction to Technical Communication ©
  • 35. The writing process consists of five steps: • planning • drafting • revising • editing • proofreading Chapter 3. Writing Technical Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 35
  • 36. Planning involves seven steps:• analyzing your audience• analyzing your purpose• generating ideas about your subject• researching additional information• organizing and outlining your document• selecting an application, a design, and a delivery method• devising a schedule and a budget Chapter 3. Writing Technical Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 36
  • 37. When you draft, follow these six suggestions:• Get comfortable.• Start with the easiest topics.• Draft quickly.• Don’t stop to get more information or to revise.• Try invisible writing.• Stop in the middle of a section. Chapter 3. Writing Technical Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 37
  • 38. Commercial templates can lead to three problems:• They do not always reflect the best design principles.• They bore readers.• They cannot help you answer the important questions about your document. Chapter 3. Writing Technical Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 38
  • 39. Identify the strengths and weaknessesof a commercial template.Chapter 3. Writing Technical Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 39
  • 40. Revising entails reconsidering three items:• your audience• your purpose• your subject Chapter 3. Writing Technical Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 40
  • 41. There are two ways to study your draft:• studying the draft by yourself• seeking help from others Chapter 3. Writing Technical Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 41
  • 42. When revising documents, ask for help from two kinds of people:• subject-matter experts• current and prospective users of the documentChapter 3. Writing Technical Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 42
  • 43. What is editing?Editing is the process of checking the draft toimprove its grammar, punctuation, style, usage,diction (word choice), and mechanics (such asuse of numbers and abbreviations). Chapter 3. Writing Technical Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 43
  • 44. What is proofreading? Proofreading is the process of checking to make sure you have typed what you meant to type.Chapter 3. Writing Technical Documents © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 44
  • 45. Writing CollaborativelyChapter 1. Introduction to Technical Communication ©
  • 46. You can collaborate with others in three basic ways:• collaborating face to face• collaborating electronically• collaborating with a combination of face-to-face meetings and electronic tools Chapter 4. Writing Collaboratively © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 46
  • 47. Collaboration has six advantages:• It draws on a greater knowledge base.• It draws on a greater skills base.• It provides a better idea of how the audience will read the document.• It improves communication among employees.• It helps acclimate new employees to an organization.• It motivates employees to help an organization grow. Chapter 4. Writing Collaboratively © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 47
  • 48. Collaboration has six disadvantages:• It takes more time than individual writing.• It can lead to groupthink.• It can yield a disjointed document.• It can lead to inequitable workloads.• It can reduce a person’s motivation to work hard on the document.• It can lead to interpersonal conflict. Chapter 4. Writing Collaboratively © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 48
  • 49. Follow these seven suggestions for managing your projects:• Break down a large project into several smaller tasks.• Plan your project.• Create and maintain an accurate schedule.• Put your decisions in writing.• Monitor the project.• Distribute and act on information quickly.• Be flexible regarding schedule and responsibilities. Chapter 4. Writing Collaboratively © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 49
  • 50. Conducting meetings involves five skills:• listening effectively• setting your team’s agenda• conducting efficient meetings• communicating diplomatically• critiquing a team members work Chapter 4. Writing Collaboratively © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 50
  • 51. Follow these five steps to improve your effectiveness as a listener:• Pay attention to the speaker.• Listen for main ideas.• Don’t get emotionally involved with the speakers ideas.• Ask questions to clarify what the speaker said.• Provide appropriate feedback. Chapter 4. Writing Collaboratively © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 51
  • 52. There are eight steps in setting your teams agenda:• Define the team’s task.• Choose a team leader.• Define tasks for each team member.• Establish working procedures. Chapter 4. Writing Collaboratively © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 52
  • 53. There are eight steps insetting your agenda (cont.):• Establish a procedure for resolving conflict productively.• Create a style sheet.• Establish a work schedule.• Create evaluation materials. Chapter 4. Writing Collaboratively © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins
  • 54. Communicating diplomatically requires seven skills:• Listen carefully, without interrupting.• Give everyone a chance to speak.• Avoid personal remarks and insults.• Don’t overstate your position.• Don’t get emotionally attached to your own ideas.• Ask pertinent questions.• Pay attention to nonverbal communication. Chapter 4. Writing Collaboratively © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 54
  • 55. Critiquing a group member’s work involves three steps:• Start with a positive comment.• Discuss the larger issues first.• Talk about the document, not the writer. Chapter 4. Writing Collaboratively © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 55
  • 56. Critique a draft clearly and diplomatically. Chapter 4. Writing Collaboratively © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 56
  • 57. Three powerful word-processor features can be useful in collaborative work:• the comment feature• the revision feature• the highlighting feature Chapter 4. Writing Collaboratively © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 57
  • 58. Electronic media are useful collaborative tools for three reasons:• Face-to-face meetings are not always possible or convenient.• Organizations can benefit when more people can participate and share their ideas.• Electronic communication is convenient and often instantaneous. Chapter 4. Writing Collaboratively © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 58
  • 59. Besides a word processor, there are four main types of collaboration technologies:• Messaging technologies• Videoconferencing• Wikis and shared document workspaces• Virtual worlds Chapter 4. Writing Collaboratively © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 59
  • 60. Follow these six suggestions for conducting effective videoconferences:•Practice using videoconferencing technology.•Arrange for technical support at each site.•Organize the room to encourage participation.•Make eye contact with the camera.•Dress as you would for a face-to-face meeting.•Minimize distracting noises and movements. Chapter 4. Writing Collaboratively © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 60
  • 61. If you use social media, maintain a professional online presence:• Don’t use it for nonbusiness purposes.• Don’t divulge secure information.• Don’t divulge private information about anyone.• Don’t make racist or sexist comments or post pictures of people drinking. Chapter 4. Writing Collaboratively © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 61
  • 62. When collaborating across cultures,consider that people from other cultures:• might find it difficult to assert themselves in collaborative teams• might be unwilling to respond with a definite “no”• might be reluctant to admit when they are confused or to ask for clarification• might avoid criticizing others• might avoid initiating new tasks or performing creatively Chapter 4. Writing Collaboratively © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 62