We’re moving our public classroom course on Trends in Technical Communication Course – Advanced Technical Writing Techniques from the 18th September to Tuesday 22nd September. There are places available if you’d like to book.
We’ve also run this course a number of times during the summer as an “onsite” course for clients, using WebEx and Lync (soon to be called Skype for Business). Using online meeting technologies like these means we can deliver training to authoring teams throughout the world.
We have been asked if individual delegates overseas could use these platforms to participate in our public, classroom, course. I’m afraid we don’t offer this. The “online meeting” courses involve using special lighting and audio equipment that isn’t available in the training rooms we use for the public courses. Also, it would be very difficult for the trainer to manage two different delivery methods simultaneously.
Writing in the business world can be difficult. We have to write Web pages, proposals, emails, policies and procedures and, perhaps, adverts. It can be hard to get going, and create something that’s clear and to the point. Here are some tips to help you get over these difficulties.
It’s not your fault
Let’s start by saying it’s not your fault if you find business writing difficult, because most of us are not taught how to do it at school. At school, we learn how to write stories and how to argue a case. That usually involves building to a big conclusion at the end.
In business, mostly we have to write to:
- instruct, or
Those are different forms of writing.
“Everyone is taught to write at school, so surely everyone can write in business?”
Although the quotation above would seem to make sense, the reality is that many people find it hard to write in a business context. They struggle to write clearly, and it can take them ages to produce a piece of content.
It’s not their fault. What we’re taught at school is how to write narratives, that is stories or articles. We’re also taught to argue a case – to use rhetoric to build to a conclusion. We’re taught writing to persuade and writing to entertain.
In the world of business, we often need different forms of writing. We’re often writing to inform or writing to instruct.
In these situations, people want to know what they should and shouldn’t be doing, and get on with their jobs. They want the important information at the beginning, rather than the end. They want to scan and hunt for the information relevant to them, rather than always having to read everything from beginning to end.
Many people haven’t been taught how to write to inform or to instruct, and that’s why many people find business writing so difficult.
It might seem like we’ve been quiet recently, but that’s partly because we’ve been working on an academic project that we hope to be announcing towards the end of the year.
As a spin-off from this project, we’re developing new training courses in technical communication. These courses are at a more advanced level than our basic/intermediate courses, and they include more references to academic research.
If you are considering any on-site training for your technical communications team, we can now offer these topics:
- What is technical communication?
- The business case for technical communication
- History of technical writing standards
- Usability and user centred design
- Project planning and its effect on writing documentation
- Researching and scoping documentation
- Information design and content organisation
- Writing the topics – overview
- Presenting different types of information
- Index, search and metadata
- Single sourcing and reusing content
- Post writing
- Researching technical communication – where to go
- Establishing standards
- Governance and maintenance
- What skills does a technical communicator need?
- Content strategy and technical communication
- Trends in technical communication
- Visual design
- Publishing and delivering information
- Managing the documentation project
- Metrics/Evaluating documents
We may develop online courses for some of these topics in the future as well.
We thought it would be useful to reflect on our plans for topics and courses in technical communications. In the past, some of the best suggestions have come from customers and prospects; it’s great to pick up useful ideas from others.
Today, you’ll find classroom or elearning training courses in:
We have a separate roadmap for business writing courses, which is where our policies and procedures training course (and again, Introduction to content strategy) fits in.
Our current thinking is to offer more topics around managing and planning technical documentation projects. In the past, we’ve offered an course on estimating projects. We also know managing project time is another important topic. Perhaps there are other topics that would fit under this category?
There’s also the issue of which courses should be online (recorded) courses, and which ones should be classroom-based (live) courses. Delegates say really like the two training venues we use in central London (we struck gold there), but online courses enable people to take a course pretty much anywhere and at any time.
If you have any thoughts, you can email us your thoughts, or you can use the comment box below.
We had a discussion last week about a potential partnership that involves Cherryleaf’s courseware (and our trainers). It prompted us to take stock of the all courseware we can offer today. Below are some of the items on the list:
Just to let you know our next Trends in Technical Communication Course – Advanced Technical Writing Techniques course will be held on Wednesday 29th April 2015, near The Science Museum in central London.