Technical writing plays an important role in modern business communication, as it bridges the divide between businesses and their target audience.
When it comes to writing about a complex subject that requires explanation, instruction or direction, there are some rules you must follow. If you do it right, technical writing results in relevant information that your audience can easily understand and act on.
However, despite investing a significant amount of time and efforts, most technical documents fall short and fail to engage with the audience in a way it was intended to be.
In this article, we have compiled four preventable mistakes most technical writers tend to make.
Barring exceptions, a technical document is a long-winded piece of information that should be structured appropriately, to begin with. Without a proper structure, the readers will find it difficult to navigate the seemingly overwhelming document. A technical document that leaves the readers confused and frustrated is virtually a wastage of time and efforts.
Therefore, it is important to create a layout from top to down first, and when you start writing, include subheadings and bullet points to make your document readable.
Too much jargon
A technical document should be created with your readers in mind. What’s familiar to you may not be so to your readers. Experts suggest that the level of technicality in your writing should be governed by who your readers are and not by how much you know about the subject. But, if you are writing for specialist readers, using technical language may be essential. It all boils down to whom you are writing for.
A technical document loses consistency when it’s written over a period of time, by multiple authors. For instance, the tone, perspective and layout in one paragraph may differ from the next. These jumps in writing style can be disconcerting for readers and should be avoided. Get all your writers to follow a style guide, which should address things like brand voice, readership, vocabulary and typography.
Too many noun-heavy phrases
Authors writing in a technical context tend to go overboard in making their prose sound elevated with noun-heavy phrases, but it ends up being abstract. The easy fix would be to replace noun-heavy sentences with straightforward verbs. The latter is easy to follow because that’s how people think and speak in their everyday lives.
Whether you are creating a technical document or writing business proposals, you must steer clear of these mistakes to improve reader engagement and achieve the intended goal.