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Know your audience

This page is part of a larger resource on technical writing for microwave engineers. The most important thing to consider when writing is to know your reader. Think about it as if you were talking; wouldn't you choose different words when describing something to your boss than you would when talking to your spouse, an intern, or to a marketing person? It's the same with writing. You need to know the experience, technical level, and job description of the person who has to read your final document. You need to know if they are easily offended if you plan on spicing up that next e-mail!

Here are some typical audiences for different types of writing you might do:

Type of Writing Typical Audience What this Means
Internal Proposal Manager/money guy The reader may not have as much technical expertise as you, so lay off the acronyms.
Conference Abstract Volunteer engineers who read technical articles for fun These guys know their stuff and won't let any B. S. get by them.
Progress Report Your boss or program manager Managers will know what you are talking about but but don't have all day to read your prose. Their opinion can impact your pay check.
Viewgraphs or PowerPoint presentation Diverse audience Expect some boredom, especially if your presentation is in the afternoon. Try to find out in advance who the audience includes, and tailor your pitch accordingly. Most managers prefer units of "$K" to "dB" for instance. Mechanical guys usually suffer in silence, but have some mercy on them.
Resume Human resource personnel, not necessarily the hiring manager Use keywords such as "microwave hardware" here, or you may end up interviewing in the shipping department.
Patent Disclosure Attorneys Try to confuse the heck out of them, they live to do the same thing to you. Unless they are working on your money...
Specifications Technicians and purchasing people This is the only acceptable format for writing without sentences.

Once you've got your audience pegged, it's time to get organized!

Author : Unknown Editor

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