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Technical Writing for Business People

Book Description

Technical writing is about communicating key information to the people who need it. It might be a manual for an application, a guide to using heavy machinery, a diagnostic aide for medical practitioners or a guidance note about new legislation. It needs to be clear and it needs to be precise. This book shows you how to achieve this and more. Whatever the content or context, in this book you’ll discover the essential tools and resources that you need to create technical writing that works for everyone. -- 'A short no-nonsense guide to technical writing in any context.{..}This guide provides a useful formula to get good results every time, emphasising the importance of audience perspective, including accessibility considerations.' Tracey Torble, ITSM specialist, manager and writer

Table of Contents

  1. Front Cover
  2. Half-Title Page
  4. Title Page
  5. Copyright Page
  6. Contents
  7. List of figures
  8. Author
  9. Preface
  10. 1. What is Technical Writing?
    1. The technical writer’s toolkit
    2. The most important thing you need as a technical writer
    3. Key takeaways
  11. 2. Seven Steps to Heaven: the Technical Writing Cycle
    1. 1. Specification, audience and scope
    2. 2. Planning
    3. 3. Research and writing
    4. 4. Testing, reviewing and revision
    5. 5. Delivery
    6. 6. Evaluation and feedback
    7. 7. Revision, archiving or destruction
    8. Technical writing in a team
    9. A quick word about writing apps
    10. A quick word about formatting text
    11. Key takeaways
  12. 3. Know Your Audience
    1. Who are you writing for?
    2. Personas in technical writing
    3. What do they already know?
    4. What do they need to know, and why?
    5. Where and when do they need to know it?
    6. Key takeaways
  13. 4. Break it Down: the Importance of a Task-based Approach
    1. Break it down (but not too much)
    2. The other big benefit of a task-based approach
    3. Key takeaways
  14. 5. Assume Nothing
    1. Making assumptions
    2. Assumptions and accessibility
    3. Junk the jargon, banish buzzwords and abolish acronyms
    4. Key takeaways
  15. 6. Vanquish Vagueness
    1. Be precise
    2. Don’t leave wiggle room
    3. Be specific
    4. Key takeaways
  16. 7. Don’t be Yourself
    1. The importance of clarity
    2. Key takeaways
  17. 8. Stick to the Story
    1. 1. Long paragraphs
    2. 2. Dense blocks of text
    3. 3. Irrelevant or useless graphics
    4. 4. Poor punctuation
    5. 5. Too much information
    6. 6. Forgetting to include the ‘how’
    7. 7. Unclear navigation aids
    8. Key takeaways
  18. 9. be Active: Why You should Avoid the Passive Voice and Weak Verbs
    1. Why weak words make writing worse
    2. Key takeaways
  19. 10. Diagrams, Lists and Graphics
    1. Listy business
    2. Go with the flow (chart)
    3. Other kinds of charts
    4. Keep away from the clipart
    5. Good graphics
    6. Key takeaways
  20. 11. Everybody Needs an Editor
    1. Let go of your ego
    2. What to look for when you’re editing
    3. Accuracy
    4. Simplicity
    5. Brevity
    6. Effectiveness
    7. Sheer tedium
    8. Key takeaways
  21. 12. the Technical Writing House of Horrors
    1. When commas cost
    2. The conversion that cost a spaceship
    3. The ‘s’ that killed a company
    4. When xxx costs $$$
    5. The £52 million comma
  22. Afterword
  23. Index