Technical Writing Tip of the Month – January

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Technical Writing Tip of the Month – January

Stepping into the Reader’s Shoes is the Key to Good Technical Writing.
Understanding your Audience.

• To understand the audience you must first analyse the audience. This is a vital first step in the preparation of a good document.
• Your analysis should assess how familiar various readers will be with the subject. From this, you should identify what you will need to explain and how much detail you will need to give.
• Next, ask yourself – what is it that I want my readers to do when they have finished reading the document? The actions that you wish the readers to take will dictate the most important message (known as the Key Message) of the document. Clarify this Key Message in your head before going any further. Write out the Key Message and keep it in front of you while you write.
• Place the Key Message at the beginning of the opening paragraph of your document (usually the summary) so that it is clear to the reader that this is the Key Message e.g. Prototype A is the preferred option for Generation II of the Gizmo, this option is the only one of the five tested that fulfils all the design brief mandatory criteria.
• Make sure to analyse your audience on paper, not in your head, this will help to clarify your thoughts and ensure that you do not stray from the Key Message.

Post submitted by John Lafferty from Northridge

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