Writing is a fundamental professional skill...in todays workplace writing is a threshold skill for hiring and promotion among salaried...employees. Survey results indicate that writing is a ticket to professional opportunity, while poorly written job applications are a figurative kiss of death. ~Gaston Caperton, president of the National Commission on Writing for Americas Families, Schools, and Colleges
Technical Communication is oral and written communication for and about business and industry. It focuses on products and services – how to manufacture, market, manage, deliver, and best use them. Technical communication is composed primarily in the workplace for supervisors, colleagues, s ubordinates, vend ors, and customers.
Routine Correspondence o Memos, Letters, E-Mails, Messages, Instant Messages, and Text Messages Technical Descriptions and Process Analyses Instructions, User Manuals, and Standard Operating Procedures Proposals Executive Summaries Informal and Formal Reports Presentations Brochures, Newsletters, and Web sites
Business offers a unique perspective on audience: Internal Audience = those persons within the company External Audience = those persons outside the company High-Tech Audience = includes those who work in your field of expertise, are your colleagues because they share your educational background, work experience, or level of understanding Low-Tech Audience = includes coworkers in other departments, bosses, subordinates, or colleagues who work for other companies but do not share the same level of understanding about a particular topic Lay Audience = customers and clients who neither work for your company nor have any knowledge about your field of expertise
The 1993 National Assessment of Adult Literacy places the average reading level of US adults at 8th – 9th grade level. Their 2003 Assessment indicates that those numbers barely moved. 6th Grade = Comics 7th Grade = Modern Romances 8th Grade = Ladies’ Home Journal, Wall Street Journal 9th Grade = Good Housekeeping 10th Grade = Reader’s Digest, US News and World Report 11th Grade = Time and Newsweek 12th Grade = Atlantic Monthly In a survey conducted by ACT, just 51% of students demonstrated the ability to read at a freshman level. No popular magazines or newspapers score high enough on language content to meet college graduate level.
The National Center for Education Statistics demonstrates the comparison between their 1992 and 2003 statistics.Average Prose, Document and Prose Literacy by EducationalQuantative AttainmentLiteracy Scores of Adults: 1992and 2003
Every discipline has a preferred writing style. Write for Clarity. Provide specific detail with fewer words. Answer the Reporter’s Questions. Use easily understandable words. Avoid wordiness, obscure words, define acronyms, abbreviations, and jargon Use verbs in the active voice rather than the passive voice Avoid Sexist or Regional Language
Write for Conciseness. Simplify words, sentences, and paragraphs Limit paragraph length to four to six typed lines, or no more than 50 words. Limit word and sentence length. Approximately 15 words per sentence and no more than 5 multisyllabic words per 100 words of text. Avoid camouflaged words: make an adjustment to = adjust Avoid the Expletive Patterns: there and it Omit Redundancies Avoid Wordy Phrases