What is Technical Communication?

What is Technical Communication?

Technical Communication encompasses both written and verbal forms of communication. The written is known as Technical Writing and the verbal as simply Technical Communication. Instructional Design (ISD) has also much in common with technical writing and technical communication, so there is a genre representing the overlap of Instructional Designers and Technical Writers.

The primary function of the technical communicate is to communicate clearly and accurately. This tend to be blunt and dry, but it does not have to be. It does have to be concise and extreme on the points of clarity and accuracy. That is where Technical Communication becomes an art form.

Making technical communication an art – that is the challenge, but it is also the secret. If you can make the information engaging, interesting, or even fun, you will be more successful in conveying, gaining understanding of the content, and earning cooperation from the audience.

Highly technical audiences specialized in the content can have you throw it at them straight – bare bones. In fact they like to look at the code, review the specs, etc. For the non-technical or non-specialized in the audience, use these skills to get the point across. Even on the highly specialized audience you can make it a lot more palpable.

How do you make Technical Communication, Technical Writing, Instructional Design and Instructional Writing into an art? I lean into story and I use metaphor, allegory, symbolism, allusion, personification, similis, all figures of speech. I even use nd even onomatopoeia and alliteration to make the content enjoyable and fun. The language in doing so can be descriptive to engage as many senses if possible.

This sounds impossible when communicating about technology, for instance, programming and development, and api writing. What you are trying to do is to make the abstract concept as concrete as possible.

Example: Before

Example: After

As a technical communicator you may have to communicate to an audience of varied skills and from different functional areas, each coming from a different viewpoint.

This is another part of the equation. You need a different story, or a different slant on the same story for each audience. A marketing manager is going to be consuming the information from a different point of view than the finance manager or the technical manager. You must communicate differently to each audience.