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Question Description

This week we are going to take a break of a sort and circle back to earlier in the semester before proceeding on to the end of the semester.

Attached are two documents. The first is what you read very early in the semester about the conventions of business and technical writing. You may recall that part of that week’s assignment was to locate an example of business and technical writing and discuss how it embodied those characteristics.

The second offers more details and examples about the conventions of business and technical writing that you might do well to incorporate into your writing repertoire, especially before you proceed to a slightly longer piece of writing toward the end of the semester.

You would also be wise to review, again, pages 6-7 of the textbook. And if you are out of practice with grammar and usage, please read pages 681-727.

Here is the assignment: Having read the two attachments, choose a minimum of one page of what you have already written for the class in a past assignment. This may include something you have submitted for a grade or, better yet, something that you posted for comment, perhaps way back early in the semester. Take that the text of that page (such as it is) and revise it into a one page document that better exhibits the qualities of business and technical writing. AND, in addition, write a commentary/reflection about why you made the changes you did. You must choose a piece of your own work, not anybody else’s.

You will submit this all in one draft in Word (please, no .pdf files) that has three labeled parts:

Part 1: Type in the original text you are revising.

Part 2: Revise it to better exhibit the conventions of business and technical writing. (Hint: at least some of them are addressed in the attached handouts.)

Part 3: Write a commentary about what changes you made, why, and what you think of them.

What does this mean? First, you need not do any research (for those of you who like to do research). Please just don’t. The assignment DOES require you to revise something you have written before in a different, more businesslike style. This means you *might* have to change how things are worded, arranged on the page, etc.–but you might also choose not to. You may choose to edit some information out, or change the tone, or….whatever.

For example, you could take the first introductory posting you did on the first discussion board (often in one long paragraph) and rearrange/modify it so that it looks on the page like a piece of business writing.

For instance, you could take the posting (what you wrote about it, not the letter of application or resume) about what position you might qualify for and turn that into a page of what looks more emphatically like business and tech writing.

Normally this would be due a week from today, but since I am late in getting this out, let’s aim for a deadline of Tuesday, November 17 at midnight. The assignment will be graded.

Business and technical writing:

  • Tends to be reader-focused. That is, it is not expressive (well, obviously expressive) of the writer’s ideas or feelings. This means that in many cases the language is not likely to include “I think…” or “In my opinion…” The goal is often to simplify (just enough) the complex for a reader who needs the information. The emphasis is on the subject, not on the writer.
  • Exhibits a “You attitude,” which means it very seriously considers the audience’s point of view, emphasizes what the audience likely needs or wants to know, and, when dealing with sensitive situations, does not endanger the reader’s ego. (So, for instance, there will likely be no accusations even if you are writing a piece of communication that is, say, registering a complaint.)
  • Has a definite purpose, usually to inform or persuade.
  • Can be prescriptive: for example, if you want to know how to change a tire or set up your laptop, do this, then this, then this.
  • Is often transactional: that is, it is designed to get things done.
  • Tends to sound objective; that is, it has an objective or impersonal tone. It will not gush, so “It is amazing!” is not likely to be something you write.
  • Is direct and focused but it is NOT without relevant detail and background information, warnings, etc.
  • Is clear and straightforward but not rude.
  • Sounds professional. Think of business and tech writing as writing with a business suit. This means that the meaning needs to be clear in the first (or so) reading. Business and technical writing is NOT the same as creative or academic (that is, EN101-102) writing.
  • Is accurate. Information is not made up.
  • Is structured. Reading takes time and time is money. The structure is often made clear through wise use of white space (space on the page with nothing in it), font size and color (well, sometimes color) and bullets or numbering. This does not mean all technical writing is short. Far from it. But it does mean that it does keep in mind its readers (the audience) and what they need. What is written needs to be thorough.
  • Does not usually use the word “I” as frequently as it is used in other forms of writing. (When in doubt, leave it out.)
  • Exhibits grammatical correctness. That is, spelling and punctuation and all those English teacher things count.
  • Uses (typically) sentences that may not be inordinately complex; uses active verbs and parallel structure.
  • Integrates visuals/graphics as appropriate and to improve the communication (and not just because).
  • Respects and wisely uses traditional business forms. That is, for example, business letters have salutations, a date, etc. Those kinds of things.
  • Indicates (sometimes, as appropriate) that the writer is aware of legal and ethical considerations.
  • And what else would you add?
  • EN153 REVIEWING THE CONVENTIONS OF BUSINESS AND TECHNICAL WRITINGIntroductionLet’s take a week to first review and then to practice the conventions of business and technical writing almost in isolation. “Conventions” in this context means the standard, the typical and the expected ways in which things are done. That said, as in any kind or piece of writing, there are many ways to write anything.Please note: what follows is not a recipe that cannot be changed or improved or improvised on in any ways. The trick—at least for this class—is to make sure that you can explain why you made the choices you made when you wrote what you did the way you did. This means “I tried my best” as commentary will not get you credit for doing the commentary in future assignments—and thus your grade will be lower.ComposingAssume that you can assemble any information on paper in any number of different ways. (Remember that in some circles, writing is called “composing”, putting thing together.) How you put things together depends on the situation, the audience—and the writing is the one who decides—consciously and deliberately decides—what gets put on the page.Think (again) for the kind of material you find on any kind of prepared item: peanut butter, pasta, a loaf of bread, a tube of toothpaste. At least theoretically, that same information could be fashioned (composed), for instance, into an essay appropriate for EN101: a title; paragraphs chunked into big pieces of information; beginning-middle-end. This would be written for an audience of very few: the instructor and perhaps a few other students.But what is different in business and technology writing is that it is writing in a business suit. This means it gets read by people who are being paid to read it (and you are being paid to write it, not in grades but in salary). (Note: Let me reiterate yet another time that this does not mean that such writing has to be limited to one page. Far from it. The writing needs to be as long as it needs to be to convey its ideas to its audience. If and when you work for a company other than SandyCorp and that employer tells you to limit memos to one page, then do so then. Not now.)Some Conventions to EmployOut of habit and training, it is possible that you have drafted a memo (or any other piece of business writing) that, although it has “TO: …” at the top, still reads something like an essay. Please think about incorporating these conventions of business and technical writing into your writing repertoire:1. BeginningsConsider beginning your piece of writing by announcing your topic. This does not mean “I am going to tell you about” or “This memo is about…”but rather something like, “This procedure is very simple,” or “Profit and morale at SandyCorp would be improved if technology were improved, and here is how to do it,” or “I am pleased to let you know that progress on the SandyCorp wellness program is proceeding on schedule for the most part”. 2. After the BeginningAfter the beginning, here’s a thought: since time is money, think about moving from the most important idea to the least important information. You may also need to present background information as necessary; remember that you are also trying to make yourself seem worthy of being listened to, which means you need to sound informed.3. OrganizationThe principles of organization that you learned in EN101 and other academic writing classes still serve you well in business and technical writing. However, it is helpful and wise (and in face a business writing convention) to break the longer paragraphs you would write in an essay into shorter paragraphs. (If you need to write the longer paragraphs first and then cut them up, then fine. Whatever works.)
    This is the piece of the assignment that need to be revised
    I got assembly instructions for my daughter’s tricycle from the Radio Flyer website and its a technical type of writing.On the main page, first explains what the product is, to who is intended to use, and how. The first page includes all the critical information about the product. You can see it easy phone numbers of the company, warranty information, and model information as well. After that, the content of the document moves further into another section and presents the primary goal of the manual. You can predict what to expect from this instructional manual. The visual presentation starts at this point, and it is easy to identify all the parts. The document also goes more in detail and labels each part with numbers, and each step is also numbered. Towards the end, you can read about possible issues with the tricycle and how to avoid them as well as how to resolve them. This paper is written in a clear, precise, and simple form. Explains understanding of the instructions and goes into the technical details, the whole procedure is visually presented. Assembly instructions are easy to follow, and they emphasize important information about the tricycle as well. 33_instructions.pdf