Communicating technical information is equally important as developing the technology. There are many use cases where engineers need to communicate about their design intent, ask for feedback from or share ideas with colleagues, or write technical instructions. To be successful, it is important to convey your intent with a clear message. I am sharing few writing tips based on the personal experiences of my engineering colleagues at PTC.
Understand your audience
Before you begin, remember whom you are writing it for, your customers, your fellow engineers or may be your managers. Think proactively and plan your writing patterns of explanation by aiming your audience’s level of technical knowledge, abilities and level of expertise. Understanding their roles in an organization, their choices and what information they need from your writings is essential in shaping how you should write.
Keep it simple and short
Brief it in simple and short – sounds easy, but is sometimes very tricky. We often tend to use too many words because we fear people wouldn’t understand otherwise. But if textual explanations are too long, we may even lose people before they start reading
Here are few tips:
Use technical terminology only when appropriate for the audience. If you readers are not engineers, you may need to use non-technical terms
Use short sentences. A sentence with too many commas (especially when set in the wrong spot!) are hard to follow
Review your text in regard to redundancies – fill words, repetitions and less relevant information should be avoided. You will be surprised how many words you can remove once your first draft has been written! Tip: Ask a colleague or a non-technical expert to review – a fresh pair of eyes works wonders!
Structure your text visually - formatting will help the reader to digest your content better.
Paragraphs have an average of 4 lines
Don’t overuse stylistic devices – pick bold OR underlining OR italics for your headline, not in combination. When writing for the web, don’t underline as the word could be mistaken for a link
Some may love it or some may not but everyone needs to write sometimes. It takes a little practice, but often these little tips can have a big impact. Do you have any tips to add?