If you’re an expert in your field, you might have a hard time simplifying your writing for a non-technical audience. Consider working with a technical writer who can effectively convey your knowledge for you.
It’s frustrating when people don’t get what you’re communicating, yet it’s essential they grasp what you’re saying. Wouldn’t it be nice if they can read and understand a document, so you have a common vocabulary and starting point when you meet?
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 business workflows, product manuals and how-to guides, like the one that came with your microwave oven.
Some technical writing provides product background; many websites do a good job with this. For instance, I went online to read about Toyotas before I visited the showroom. When I arrived, the salesman knew that I was informed about 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 the first draft so the technical writer will spend time with you to ask probing questions and pinpoint what’s essential. She’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.