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Apples to oranges similarities and differences between technical writing and proposal writing
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Apples to oranges similarities and differences between technical writing and proposal writing


STC Downtown chapter meeting presentation from guest speaker Jeannette Waldie …

STC Downtown chapter meeting presentation from guest speaker Jeannette Waldie
Proposal Development Manager for Remedial Construction Services
February 22, 2012

Published in Business , Education
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  • Apples to Oranges: The similarities and differences between Technical Writing and Proposal Writing With companies downsizing, staff are asked to wear many hats. It is not unusual for technical writers to find themselves assigned to write a proposal. Come learn about the similarities and the differences between the two forms of communication.That sounds like a good topic. I suppose one challenge will be to highlight the differences between proposal writing and other ways of communicating technical information, while still maintaining the connections. Most of the technical communicators there will probably view proposal writing as a type of technical writing, since it’s still a business-centered communication of technical information. Seems to me that there are some key, unique features of the kind of work you do. The team element and the research would be interesting to hear about. Definitely not a “lone writer” kind of a job.
  • Technical writing, a form of technical communication. Technical writers begin by forming a clear understanding of the purpose of the document they will create. If payment for production comes from a second party, this includes a detailed interview with the party that pays for the document's production. Technical writers then typically gather information from existing documentation and from subject matter experts. A subject matter expert (SME) is any expert on the topic that the writer is working on. Technical writers are often not SMEs themselves (unless they are writing about creating good technical documentation). Workers at many levels, and in many different fields, have a role in producing technical communications. A good technical writer needs strong language and teaching skills and must understand the many conventions of modern technical communications.Advanced technical writers often move into specialized areas such as API writing, document architecture, or information management.technical writing style and techniques are used in areas other than the ones listed in your notes on slide 3; it can be used in pretty much any industry.
  • A proposal: 1. Written to someone who needs to make a decision usually which involves spending or investing money (e.g. a client or customer, a committee, someone responsible for finances within company or organization, etc.) 2. Usually formal in register, but could also be semi-formal when addressed to a committee of peers 3. Writer uses language in such a way that he is persuasive, besides listing reasons and making suggestions 4. Written to someone whose decision will directly benefit the writer in some way (e.g. writer is a salesperson)or a group writer belongs to (e.g. a local amateur athletic team that needs support) 5. May not may not have headingsThe general purpose of a proposal is the identify a particular need, explain it and recommend how this need can best be met.
  • Tech Writing is work that pertains to a certain task to be performed by an individual in a certain manner, while Proposal writing is a set of tasks or actions performed by a group?
  • points to the Proposal Writing comment pertaining to varying structure?these manuals employ good technical writing techniques. Structure of a technical document: Will vary according to industry, audience, purpose, convention, and medium.
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  • whether you are a technical or proposal writer, strategically using active language and employing specificity in your writing (whether in procedural steps, specs, action plans, and/or historical descriptions) will produce effective documents; it's just a good connection.


  • 1. Apples to OrangesSimilarities & differences between Technical Writing & Proposal Writing
  • 2. Apples to Oranges Definitions Similarities Differences Putting both in your basket Conclusion Questions & Answers 2
  • 3. Definitions Technical writing  Communicates technical concepts to educates the reader 3
  • 4. Definitions Proposal writing  Communicates a solution to a problem or a course of action in response to a need 4
  • 5. Similarities Conveys information Formal & structured Communicates & instructs Clear purpose/objective 5
  • 6. Similarities Requires clear understanding of document’s purpose Gather information from other sources Requires clear concise writing Graphics communicate concepts 6
  • 7. DifferencesTechnical Writing Proposal Writing Describes work that has  Describes work that will been completed be completed  7
  • 8. DifferencesTechnical Writing Proposal Writing Describes work or task  Describes a set of tasks to be performed by an or actions performed by individual a group  8
  • 9. DifferencesTechnical Writing Proposal Writing Descriptive  Persuasive What & how  Why & how  9
  • 10. DifferencesTechnical Writing Proposal Writing Single focus  Multiple focus Linear  Multiple components  10
  • 11. DifferencesTechnical Writing Proposal Writing Technical writer works  Technical writer is part solo or leads team of team assigned to specific components  11
  • 12. DifferencesTechnical Writing Proposal Writing Consistent structure  Consistent format but varying structure  12
  • 13. DifferencesTechnical Writing Proposal Writing Chapter Module  Section Title  Module  Themes (message)  Steps  Requirements  List  Graphics needed  Outline  13
  • 14. Putting Both in Your Basket Information on proposal writing  Association of Proposal Management Professionals   Proposal Guys (  Capture Planning ( References  Shipley Proposal Guide  Tom Sant  Persuasive Business Proposals  Andy Bounds  The Jelly Effect: How to Make Your Communication Stick 14
  • 15. Conclusion Good writing is good writing Technical writing critical part of a good proposal Opens career opportunities 15
  • 16. Apples to Oranges Questions? 16