It is always good to do a review as some of us might have forgotten the essentials of how to create a document full of technical information for your audience. Another acronym for technical writing could be informational writing or knowledge writing or even instructional writing. Let us start at the beginning.
• Build relationships and communicate well between all parties.
• Know your subject matter but also know what information you want to transfer. You can have a very good knowledge of a subject, but you do not have to transfer all that information, e.g., management likes point-by-point information, so do not write a lengthy report for them if it is not required – only write what is needed.
• Know your target audience and keep them in mind as you write.
• Just provide what is either requested, or what the audience needs to know. Remember to be concise and get to the point; make it simple.
• Communicate well, know your audience, and keep them in mind as you write.
• Be organized. If steps are required, be sure to include a sequenced number of tasks to follow – directions have to be in order.
• Be aware of the cause and effect of what is written. For example, ‘Press the Help key.’ Will have the effect of, e.g., a list of helpful explanations. In other words, make sure that results from what is written is clearly understood or expected.
• Be careful of your spelling of words as a misspelling can cause a huge misunderstanding. You do not want to instruct someone to ‘burn the handle’ when you meant ‘turn the handle’.
• As always, be concise and clear. Using the right words ensure that the instructions are understood, especially when being a global technical writer.
• Be diligent; perform your due diligence and validate your information – and make sure you read and reread what you have written to ensure knowledge is transferred correctly. If that is not done, a host of miscommunications can occur.
• Listen to understand what has been requested from you.
• Listen to understand and question what knowledge is being transferred to you.
• Learn from others to be knowledgeable – take down notes
• Collaborate with others in order to ensure that all parties are in agreement. This also ensures that you will be successful in what you produce.
• Translate information in a clear and easy to understand language to your target audience.
• Use different methodologies in order to maintain the interest of your readers.
• Be consistent – too many styles and fonts can be confusing for the reader and be visually tiring to the eyes. You want them to see and absorb the information; not ignore it because it is visually unappealing. Be consistent in writing and in presenting.
Finally, remember to communicate as a trainer through written material and work as an editor, illustrator, and designer to transfer your information. In addition, as always, know your timelines in order to meet your goals.
More information on being a Technical Writer can be gathered from previous posts. If you have any questions, please leave a comment. Thank you.