In this episode, I talk with David Kowal, founder, and president of Kowal Communications about improving one’s technical writing skills. David gives five very specific strategies that you can start using immediately to make you a more effective writer and overall communicator as a technical professional.
Here are the key points discussed on improving your technical writing skills:
- We have more ways to communicate than ever before, yet technology has made communication impersonal and often ambiguous.
- We need to focus more on how we communicate, and writing is a big part of that.
- Most communication today is written. By improving your writing skills, you can improve how you communicate through emails, text messages, social media posts, blog posts, reports, memos, articles, white papers, letters, and presentations.
- Improving your technical writing skills can help you manage projects more efficiently, generate more dynamic engineering reports, sell more effectively, be more productive, stand out and advance your career.
Here are five strategies you can use to improve your technical writing skills:
- Start with the most important point when writing as you have about three seconds to get somebody’s attention when they are reading. Use those three seconds well.
- While it’s important to have general knowledge about grammar, it’s even more important to think about what you’re writing, the story behind it.
- Omit needless words. Most written communications are cluttered with unnecessary words and phrases, such as “I think,” “I believe,” “as you know,” “in the context of,” “the fact that,” “in order to” and “with respect to.” These words are unnecessary and only weaken what you are trying to say.
- Stop using jargon and clichés. Clichés are to write things like “think outside the box”. Think about the phrases and words you use when writing and be careful not to get too technical when writing.
- Write to your audience, not to yourself. Think about who you are writing and write about what your audience wants to hear.
More in this episode…
In the Take Action Today segment of the show, one specific action is provided that you can take right now to improve your writing skills.
About David Kowal …
Since founding Kowal Communications in 1989, David has built his business into a respected public relations and marketing communications agency, serving clients ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.
He also founded 3D-PR Inc., a public relations collaborative with a dozen senior-level practitioners. Previously, he served as Director of Public Relations/Senior Copywriter at Howard Advertising and Director of Public Affairs at the Small Business Service Bureau, a national small-business organization. He was also a business reporter at The Worcester Telegram and freelanced for The Boston Globe and other publications.
David holds an MBA from the Clark University Graduate School of Management, where he was a charter member of the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English and journalism from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He also earned professional accreditation in public relations (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
“The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.” – Helmut Schmidt
Resources and links mentioned in this session include:
This episode is brought to you by PPI, the leader of FE, PE, or SE exam preparations. Use promo code TECC8 for 20% discount at ppi2pass.com
This episode is also brought to you by ISA, the international society of automation, a recognized leader in non-biased automation training. To find out more about how ISA can help you build your career, visit isa.org/buildyourcareer or call 919-549-8411.
Books Mentioned in this episode:
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share on improving your technical writing skills as an engineer.
Please leave your comments, feedback or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
The Engineering Career Coach
Author of Engineer Your Own Success