Communications goldberg


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Communications goldberg

  1. 1. Engineering Communications without Tears: Writing & Presenting Made Easy<br />David E. GoldbergIllinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbana, Illinois 61801<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  2. 2. Motivation<br /><ul><li>Engineers often relish technical work.
  3. 3. Don’t necessarily like to communicate it: Cool Hand Luke.
  4. 4. Need to understand
  5. 5. Why we don’t like to write or present.
  6. 6. Learn to separate criticism & content generation.
  7. 7. Master fundamental structures of engineering & business communication.
  8. 8. Mission nearly impossible: Writing & presenting complex, but can quickly survey success keys.
  9. 9. Focus on writing here, but realize same principles apply to presentation.
  10. 10. Start with the prime directive of writing.</li></ul>Paul Newman (1925-2008)<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  11. 11. Prime Directive of Writing<br /><ul><li>Writing process:
  12. 12. How many like to write? Why or why not?
  13. 13. Key problem: Endless circle of write and criticize.
  14. 14. Prime directive is to just write.
  15. 15. Separate writing into phase I, generation, phase II, quickplanning, and phase III, revision.
  16. 16. Must practice. How?</li></ul>StarFleet Prime Directive (General Order #1): Don’t interfere with pre-warp cultures.<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  17. 17. Modeling Phase I: Freewriting<br /><ul><li>In Elbow’s Writing with Power freewriting exercise a key.
  18. 18. Freewriting = writing without crossing off on anything that comes to mind for fixed interval.
  19. 19. Do it for 3 minutes.
  20. 20. Rules:
  21. 21. No stopping. Repeat nonsense phrase if stuck.
  22. 22. No crossing out. Not one word.
  23. 23. Direct style freewriting at particular task</li></ul>© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  24. 24. Phase II: Quickplanning<br />Full outlines can inhibit good writing.<br />Use quickplanning.<br />Like creating bullet points for a ppt presentation.<br />Do it hierarchically as necessary:<br />For the whole piece.<br />Section by section. <br />Subject to discovery of logic, content, and interrelationship.<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  25. 25. Phase III: Cut-and-Paste Revision<br /><ul><li>Just writing doesn’t create a written piece.
  26. 26. Phase III: Cut-and-paste revision.
  27. 27. Try it on physical paper first (no computers initially).
  28. 28. Steps:
  29. 29. Write every other line.
  30. 30. On one side of sheet.
  31. 31. Use scissors and glue stick.
  32. 32. Take directed “freewriting” as raw material.
  33. 33. Cut, paste, and interpolate between the lines.
  34. 34. Write new paragraphs as necessary.</li></ul>© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  35. 35. Key Δ & Structures of Biz & Engin Writing<br /><ul><li>How is BizTech writing different from LAS writing?
  36. 36. Business/technical writers are all busy:
  37. 37. Need cues to where they are (roadmaps, titles, key words).
  38. 38. May not read everything (elements self-contained).
  39. 39. Different readers may read differently (techies vs. CEO).
  40. 40. Two key structures to promote effective BizTech reading writing: B-P-R & lists and amplification.</li></ul>© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  41. 41. B-P-R: Fundamental Structure of Writing<br />Forget freshmen English: No clever essays here.<br />What should I write about? How to start?<br />Every piece, every section need:<br />Background (history & motivation).<br />Purpose (of the piece, section).<br />Roadmap (of the remainder).<br />Army saying: Tell ‘em what you’re going to say, say it, and tell ‘em what you said.<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  42. 42. Background<br />Sometimes called motivation.<br />The fundamental discontinuity.<br />What is the context of what’s coming? <br />Project history & background, motivation, times, dates, players.<br />But remember, the clock is ticking.<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  43. 43. Rhetorical Purpose<br />“The purpose of this report (memo, section, letter, e-mail, whatever) is X.”<br />“In this report we present X.”<br />Say it. Not a mystery novel or freshmen essay.<br />Don’t confuse project purpose with rhetorical purpose. <br />Rhetorical purpose is the purpose of the piece (report, memo, section, whatever).<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  44. 44. Roadmap<br />Build a mental model or map for your reader. Tell them what is next.<br />“In the remainder, we examine X, Y, and Z.”<br />“The remainder of the report examines X, Y, and Z.”<br />If you don’t tell them where you are going, how will they know when they get there?<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  45. 45. B-P-R Iterated Hierarchically<br />Same structure used at the beginning of the report.<br />At the beginning of the section.<br />At the beginning of subsections.<br />Less context needed when you are in the middle, but still needed.<br />BizTech reader may not have read previous section.<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  46. 46. BizTech Writer’s Friend: Lists & Amplification<br />Lists and amplification.<br />Lists can be bulleted, numbered, either broken out or in line.<br />Use lists a great deal.<br />“In this section we cover the following 3 items:<br />Item 1<br />Item 2<br />Item 3<br />The remainder examines each in more detail.”<br />List them, then amplify each item in sequence.<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  47. 47. Bottom Line<br />Engineering & business communication is daunting:<br />Separate writing from revision: creative key.<br />Quickplan, don’t overplan.<br />Know that your reader/listener is busy: provide devices like BPR and lists as aids to navigation.<br />Presentation uses similar structures & thought patterns.<br />Can be a master engineering communicator, to benefit of your work and career.<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  48. 48. Engineering Communications without Tears: Writing & Presenting Made Easy<br />David E. GoldbergIllinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbana, Illinois 61801<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />