Latest posts by techwriter (see all)
- 101 Tips and Tutorials to Write Like a Pro - August 17, 2017
- How to Find a Technical Writing Job – Some Ideas and Resources - August 9, 2017
- BOOK REVIEW: “Design for How People Learn” by Julie Dirksen - July 10, 2017
It’s a common writing mistake – a head-on and high-handed criticism which leaves the “insiders” with the impression that “this writer has no idea what’s going on in here…”
Imagine you’re the head of security at the Fortune-100 ABC corporation. You have worked for the last 15 years for this same company, developing many of the security practices that are now in place. You are reading a report written by a freelance consultant and you come across a sentence that says:
“ABC corporation has so many convoluted and outdated security measures that the employees are often at a loss which contradictory directive to follow.”
Nine out of ten, you will think “this writer has no idea how hard we have worked to implement those measures and how bad the situation was before adopting them.”
The chances are, that writer will not be asked to write another report for the ABC Corp.
What the writer should have done is to express the same idea by giving credit where it’s due and disarming the defensive objections well in advance.
“ABC corporation is well known for the wide array of security measures it has developed successfully over the last fifteen years. These measures were appropriate responses to the conditions that existed at the time. They can be improved by taking into consideration the new regulatory laws passed by the U.S. Congress since 2001. Research shows that employee satisfaction and productivity go up when the corporate security rules are aligned with such regulatory guidelines.”
Such writing not only gives credit where it’s due but also reflects an insider’s understanding of the way such measures have developed over time. It also provides a rationale why or how they can be improved (and not just “changed”).