Technical communications is a branch of business communications which involves several disciplines that work in unison to convey complex information for the purpose of accomplishing a specific goal. Technical communicators are people who study and provide information on technical products or processes then direct the information to the target audience via various media forms. The work of technical writers is not only relevant to industries whose final products are complex in nature; they also assist other industries in design, product support, production, and sales (Larson et al. 88).
To succeed in the field of technical communications, technical writers must appeal to the collaborative nature of the profession. Technical writers work with people from other professions like engineers, quality control, logistics, designers, analysts, sales, and customer service. Upon completion of the data gathering stage, technical writers then deliver the information using a plethora of channels. The media options include but are not limited to printed materials, websites, e-books, social media, presentations, meetings, audio, and video. The choice of media depends on the target demographic. As millennials are commonly tech savvy compared to the earlier generations, they are likely to be reached using social media, e-books, and websites. Older generations read more print media compared to millennials making print media a viable choice for them (Larson et al. 88).
Technical writers approach their tasks using Integrated Technical Communications techniques. ITC involves both integration and coordination of the entire technical communication functions, sources, and processes to offer the organization with appropriate knowledge and information to optimize thе product experiences of users (Larson et al. 98). Under ITC, technical writers engage in different processes. They have to perform analysis, design, creation, research, production, dissemination, archival, disposition and feedback. Since there is no telling the frequency of occurrence of the need for conducting these processes during the production cycle, ITC does not affirm that the processes must take a sequential form. Case in point, an organization might require feedback from prospective clients during product design and after the client has purchased and utilized the product.
Advancement in technology continues to validate the contribution of technical communications. Technical writers collaborate with other members of staff in an organization to create information products for a wider audience. Some of the information products include FAQs, simulations, instructions, contracts, proposals, warning labels, policy documents, user manuals, catalogs, and process flows (Larson et al. 103). Technical writers are involved to get rid of or break down the technical jargon and offer the readers with materials that are easily comprehensible. Organizations may intend to communicate to readers who are inexperienced in the field but are important for the success of the organizations. Such readers may include prospective clients, shareholders and potential investors. Within the field of education, technical communication is used for communication between disciplines. Scholars who major in one field may not understand some of the terminologies or concepts in the other field.
Rhetoric refers to the analysis and practice of persuasive, inspirational, entertaining and informative communication. Rhetorical communication involves a target audience whose beliefs, actions, habits, and values the speaker intends to reinforce or change. The five standards of rhetorical communication are invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. Success on the job relies on the effective use of communication tools for persuasion and to build meaningful relationships, strengthen partnerships and motivate our colleagues at work (McCroskey 36).
Businesses depend upon customer relationships for survival. Building such relationships breeds loyalty among consumers which extends business life and success. Rhetorical communication utilizes persuasion and the existing media to create product awareness and drive the demand up (McCroskey 36). Without demand for the products they produce, business entities cannot exist. To succeed on the job, sales people depend almost entirely on their ability to convince consumers to purchase the company’s products. They build relationships with their prospective clients using honest conversations and then living up to the expectations they gave their clients. Failure to honor agreements between them and their clients, sales people may end up losing more than they would have if they had opened up to their clients about what they really stood to benefit from the product. To convince someone, sales people develop arguments that support the viability of the product they intend to sell. They have to determine their modes of presenting arguments prior to meeting the client so they do not fumble. The organization of their arguments must meet the standards of an extreme effect. During the meeting, they have to be cautious about how they deliver their arguments. Their tone, gestures, pace, and pronunciation must show absolute honesty for the audience to believe the salesperson’s story.
With regard to using communication to motivate the team in the workplace, supervisors need excellent communication skills to encourage collaboration in the team. Supervisors need to completely open up when issuing instructions to their juniors, except when guarding trade secrets. For instance, when a supervisor is conveying information concerning a policy change, to get everyone on board, they need to explain why the policy change is necessary. Team members are motivated even more if they trust the intentions of their employers and understand what is going on and their roles in these activities. The success of the supervisor in the workplace is dependent on their ability to establish a harmonious working environment in which members of staff are motivated to work together as a team. For an ambiance of successful collaboration to exist, there is need for accurate communication (McCroskey 37).
Other than building customer relationships and motivating the team members, communication can help strengthen partnerships in the workplace (Alberts 54). Procurement officers, for example, need suppliers and other outsourced business connections to be able to meet the supply demands of the business. By presenting accurate information about the supply needs to the business partners, one stands to mitigate a lot of risks that may result from misinformation. Consistency in disseminating accurate information should be witnessed right from the beginning of the relationship with the business partners or else there might be tensions at some points. Also, once one is known for deception, it is hard to give them the benefit of doubt or credit facilities due to mistrust. Maintaining rhetorical communications also makes it easier for partners to implement changes to agreements or tackle issues that may detrimental to the success of the partnership and that of the welfare of the parties involved.
Conflict in the workplace requires proper use of communication techniques for its avoidance or resolution. Employees need to master rhetorical communication to open up to their colleagues when confronted or when they need to address an issue that affects their quality of output (Alberts 54). Conflicts in the workplace will limit employees’ ability to offer maximum contributions toward the success of their careers and that of the business. An employee should work with other team members in harmony, and communication is important for that to occur. If, for instance, one feels that there is a colleague who does not value their contributions in the organization, instead of bottling up their feelings before eventually erupting in an avalanche of confrontations, team members should address the sources of conflict before they grow into something bigger. Rhetorical communication demands that we remain transparent about our feelings and use appropriate tones to express our feelings and attitudes. Utilizing effective communication to deal with the sources of conflict right from the start lessens the detrimental effects of conflict in the workplace, or mitigates the effects in their entirety.
In summary, technical writers play the crucial role of bridging the gap between scholars and their target audience. They make it easier for businesses or individuals in professions that utilize complex jargon to communicate with the laymen in a language that they can understand. There is no overstating the value of the information that technical writers have disseminated to the public as the knowledge has saved lives and helped advance our civilization. Accurate communication is vital for success on the job as it builds meaningful relationships, strengthens partnerships, assists in conflict resolution and the motivation of team members.
Alberts, Jess K., Thomas K. Nakayama, and Judith N. Martin. Human communication in society. Pearson, 2015.
Larson, Brian, et al. “Technical Communication in the Workplace: Computer Science, Business, and Law.” (2016).
McCroskey, James C. Introduction to rhetorical communication. Routledge, 2015.