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Business Writing Tips for Professionals

Business & Technical Writing

❶Understanding the needs of the audience and establishing the purpose of the communication will allow you to move more easily between these two styles.

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by Ruth Nickolich
Talk, tips, and best picks for writers on the job.

I began mine by getting a loan from my local bank for my first computer to set up a home office. It was a Micron desktop , the fastest computer in town! That was nine years ago. I now have a nice office, a sizeable staff, and all the work I can handle, most of the time. Not everyone starts his or her own business the way I did. I started small and have maintained somewhat steady growth over the last nine years.

My background is in education. I have a degree in English and Journalism, but I worked as a technical writer with a local company for a few years, and later as an independent contractor before starting my company. I made the decision to form my business while working as an independent contractor.

I wanted to look and feel like a real company and to separate my company and personal assets. So I took the dive. Another thing that motivated me to start my own company was my past experience working for large companies. I knew I hated company politics —the meetings about meetings, the undermining by co-workers of other co-workers, all those types of situations that go on in large companies.

At that time, a friend of mine was working as a technical writer in New York. We had been sending copy back and forth to each other for editing before giving the final versions to our clients.

Since we were already helping each other, I proposed we start a company together. We worked as partners for about five years before going our separate ways due to family issues. My partner now had a new baby and needed to devote more of her time to family. So at first, I had to put in some pretty long weeks — sometimes 80 hours — to keep up with the demands.

After I incorporated the business, I spent the next eight years working from my home office. And, even companies that do have such a department may not have the tools, the expertise, or the resources to complete a project on time and within budget. This is when a technical-writing company like ours can fill that need. Managers and CEOs are appreciative when you help them meet a deadline and stay within budget.

Technical writing has changed and will continue to do so according to client needs. Anyone starting a technical-writing company will need to realize this and remain flexible enough to keep up with current trends. This includes keeping your staff well-trained in the newest software and in the latest practices. Years ago, a tech writer was a tech writer. Now a tech writer must also be a graphic designer, an editor, a proofreader, a content modeler, and must really work to stay on the cutting edge.

Thanks for stopping by, Lauren. I agree that editors often need subject-matter knowledge for technical documents. But a fresh, beginner's eye can sometimes recognize an issue the technical experts miss, especially when readers or users will not be technical experts. Like you, I have edited business documents but not technical ones. My experience is limited to what I have seen rather than what I have done.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston October 24, at I agree about the value of business writing classes. Topics such as sentence structure, active voice verbs, and concise language--along with many more--apply to both business writing and technical writing. Chanaka Palliyaguru October 24, at Lynn Gaertner-Johnston October 25, at I don't think these two types of writing are necessarily mutually exclusive.

I often find that in the same document, I use both technical and business writing skills. Liz Tucker November 02, at I am a freshman. Currently, working on my degree in B. After the first homework I've done, I realized that the way I am writing is not relevant to business as itself.

I start looking for help over the Internet to make my writing more closed and appropriate to the matter at hand. Here what I found:. Jeff Simmmons November 23, at Lynn Gaertner-Johnston November 23, at I agree with this article. As a former technical writer I ghostwrite books now who also did some business writing, I found that there might be a tiny bit of marketing babble--as a friend of mine liked to call it--within a technical document, but the audience and purpose for the two kinds of writing tended to be pretty separate.

I agree as well that sound writing principles need to be used with both, so if a business writing course teaches that, it will help technical writers too, even though a business writing course won't cover some of what tech writers do. And lastly, I heartily second the notion that a technical writer doesn't need to know everything about their subject. Well first, that's what SMEs are for. And second, if you know the subject too well, you might be tempted to skip defining or explaining the jargon and acronyms that so often populate technical documentation, especially if the document has a lay end user as its audience.

There's just no replacing a good technical writer with an engineer who can maybe write, in my humble opinion! Jonathan B Williams November 20, at Lynn Gaertner-Johnston November 20, at The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments. Having trouble reading this image? Name and email address are required.

Email address will not be displayed with the comment. Name is required to post a comment. Please enter a valid email address. Business Writing Talk, tips, and best picks for writers on the job. Syntax Training Lynn Gaertner-Johnston. Subscribe By Email Have the latest posts delivered to your inbox!

Proofreading Checklist to Avoid "Oops! Which Pronoun Is Correct? Add me to your TypePad People list. Julie Hale What makes business writing different from technical writing?

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English classes in business and technical writing will teach you how to create documents for the work courses are available?Business Writing (English ).

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Technical writing is a category of technical communications—which is a broader field that involves documenting, sharing, interpreting, and/or publishing specialized medical, scientific, biological, technological, organizational and/or other information.

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People who want to be technical writers often ask me whether business writing classes will help them. I answer yes—because strong business writing skills will help them be better technical writers. But what is the difference between technical writing and. The Department of English offers 4 courses in business, professional, and technical writing, and they are routinely taught in a computer class .

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Technical Writing 13 Tips on How to Tech-Talk to Non-Techies - Hasmita Chander Digital and Personal Tech: Writing for The Next Generation of Technical Magazines - . The Rutgers Writing Program offers writing classes and advanced courses in Business & Technical Writing, and provides tutoring, free of charge, in our Writing Centers.