If you’re an expert in your field, you might have a hard time simplifying your writing and speaking so people understand you. Perhaps you should consider working with a technical writer who will help you effectively convey your knowledge.
It’s frustrating when people don’t get what you’re communicating, yet it’s important they grasp what you’re saying. Wouldn’t it be nice if they had something to read so you’re working from a common starting point?
A technical writer is an expert at translating experts. She’s skilled at translating jargon and pinpointing what’s essential for a targeted audience.
A lot of technical writing is about producing business workflows, product manuals and how-to guides, like the one that came with your microwave oven.
Some technical writing provides product background so your customer and you have a jumping off point for a conversation. A lot of websites do a good job with this. For instance, I went online to read up on Toyotas before I visited the showroom. When I arrived, the salesman knew that I knew which cars I was most interested in.
A common process for a technical writing project is for a subject matter expert (SME) like you to write a draft of what people need to know. Then the technical writer reviews that and interviews you. The writer makes sure to produce something clear and useful for the specific audience you’re focused on.
Sometimes, though, you can’t write it out and so the technical writer spends even more time with you to ask probing questions and pinpoint what’s essential. He’ll write up the information, you’ll review and tweak that, and then sign off on a final draft.
The following are before and after examples of a document about mortar flaking for the concrete industry in Minnesota. It was one of a handful of technical documents this client asked me to rewrite; they are for business owners and contractors.
In the end, a technical writer’s well-written copy informs, educates and saves a ton of time.