Writing Technical Documents Training

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Technical writing training covers a wide range of topics and depending on the industry, comes in many formats such as short reports, lab reports, specifications, manuals, proposals, technical articles, white papers, and abstracts. Different reader groups read the same documents; however, their level of understanding can vary greatly.

Our instructor includes several core modules and then works with you to design a technical writing seminar that meets your specific needs and objectives. Writing Technical Documents can be a one-day, two-day, or three-day course, depending on how many topics you wish to incorporate. Core modules cover the basics, review good technical writing skills, and encourage adopting standards and best practices. One of the objectives is to promote consistency and a uniform level of professionalism.

Core modules include the following:

  • Ten tips for effective technical writing
  • Six principles of technical writing
  • Writing with greater clarity and precision
  • Strategies to detect weak areas and improve documents
  • Organizing material by purpose and audience
  • Tips and techniques to start writing
  • Improving the appearance of technical documents

Specific, customized modules may include the following:

  • Writing both short and long reports
  • Writing executive summaries
  • Using graphics in technical documents
  • Organizing material for procedure writing
  • Wording effective conditional statements
  • Writing proposals
  • Writing manuals
  • Writing journal articles, white papers, and abstracts
  • Writing policies and procedures
  • Writing for the Internet

Seminar Tips:

  • Active voice is usually preferred over passive voice; however, passive voice may work best when "the do-er" is unknown, obvious, or unimportant.
  • Streamlining technical documents is sometimes difficult. One great way to cull unnecessary information and narrow the focus is to keep your primary reader in mind at all times. Ask yourself: Who is my reader and what are my reader's needs?
  • Effective technical writer training shifts the focus from the writer to the reader—write the first draft for yourself but edit for the reader/client.
  • Name both tables and figures. Titles should be a noun form, so use participles rather than relative clauses. For example, Employees participating in retirement plans rather than, Employees that participate in retirement plans is more effective.

Frequently Asked Questions about our Technical Writing Training

Answers provided by our technical writing trainer, Catherine S. Hibbard

Q: What exactly is technical writing?

A: Technical writing is writing that encompasses a wide range of fields such as manufacturing, aerospace, telecommunications, electronics, computers, software, pharmaceuticals, and information systems. The types of documents include reports, manuals, specifications, abstracts, white papers, proposals, and policies and procedures.

Q: How is technical writing different from regular business writing?

A: The main difference is the technical subject matter and the challenge of reaching multiple types of readers who have differing levels of knowledge about the subject. One document may have four distinct reader groups: executives, subject matter experts, technicians, and general readers. Crafting documents that meet each reader group's needs is challenging—but attainable by using specific strategies.

Q: Why do you customize each technical writing seminar?

A: I believe that participants want to work with documents that are similar to the documents they write. They appreciate that their specific needs are addressed and met in a customized technical writing seminar rather than wasting their time attending a generic, "traveling road show" that addresses a variety of topics superficially rather than delving into relevant information in detail.

Q: Why do you ask potential clients to submit sample documents?

A: Initially, it gives me an idea of the types of documents that are common within the organization. Another reason I review samples is to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of the writing. Also, if the company uses templates, I can make suggestions as to how the templates may be improved. Most importantly, I use the sample documents to weave pertinent examples throughout the training material. I have found that participants are much more engaged in training that has been specifically tailored to include their types of documents—and incorporates suggested improvements in wording and format.

Q: Doesn't it take a lot of time to customize the training materials? Why do you bother?

A: It is time-consuming, but the end result is worthwhile. The high level of satisfaction of past clients stems partially from the pertinence of the materials and participants' awareness that their employer has made a financial investment to ensure that the technical writing training is relevant and meaningful. Everyone's time is valuable, and I guarantee that participants come away with strong new skills that they can put to immediate use.

Q: What else differentiates your technical writing training from that of your competitors?

A: I have a depth of experience that comes from years of creating specialized training materials for each technical writing seminar and working with a diverse client base. Please see my government client list and corporate client list. Also, I love training and remain enthusiastic about the subject matter and working with new clients. Providing technical writer training is fulfilling and challenging—I continue to learn new information myself and enjoy passing along the latest changes and professional standards/best practices.

Q: Can you suggest some Internet resources related to technical writing?

A: Yes. Click on the links below to find additional valuable technical writing information.

Technical Communication Center
Technical communication and writing tips, trends, tutorials, and free ezine by a Fortune 500 tech writer
I Heart Technical Writing
Practical advice on developing a successful career as a technical writer
Technical Writing World
The social network for technical communicators.
Job Resources for Technical Writers
View the Technical Writing World Job Board and follow these Twitter accounts:

Client Testimonials

"Thank you for the excellent Writing Technical Documents training. You were very well prepared, well spoken, and professional in every aspect of the course. The workbook customization was right on target. One employee commented that your were "very personable and made potentially dry material interesting."
"Thank you so much for coming to teach us technical writing skills. The class was extremely helpful! I am so glad to have learned new, practical, and essential skills!"Scientist - San Francisco, Ca
"Catherine, thank you so much. You truly are a professional in every sense of the word."
"A great instructor! Expert in subject, delivery, and preparation."
"Instructor had an excellent grasp of the subject. Very informative and compelling."
"Catherine presented the material in a fun way. This kept me interested in what could have been a “dry” subject. Great job—thanks!"
"The return on investment will be felt immediately."
"The class was very helpful. I learned techniques to emphasize information and present it clearly."
"The workbook kept me involved in the training. Wasn’t able to space out and allowed me to connect my notes to the information given by the instructor."
"As a presenter, Catherine was able to maintain the audience’s attention while delivering a message that will “stick.”"
"Very thorough—actually finished the syllabus. Shows the class was well-planned and executed."
"This course presented all important steps for good technical writing."

Technical Writing Training Clients

Government Clients

  • Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Emory University
  • EPA New England
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • Fort Dix
  • Fort Shafter
  • Fulton County, Georgia
  • General Services Administration
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Hickam Air Force Base
  • Kennesaw State University
  • Kennedy Space Center
  • Lackland Air Force Base
  • NASA John C. Stennis Space Center
  • NASA Johnson Space Center
  • NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
  • National Nuclear Security Administration
  • Naval Surface Warfare Center
  • New Mexico State University
  • Oakland Housing Authority
  • Office of Personnel Management
  • Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
  • Saudi Food and Drug Authority
  • Social Security Administration
  • U. S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command
  • U. S. Department of Education
  • U.S. Health & Human Services
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • United States Department of Agriculture

Corporate Clients

  • AGCO
  • Air Techniques, Inc
  • Archer Daniels Midland
  • AdminaStar Federal
  • Banner Pharmaceuticals
  • Brockington and Associates
  • CIBA Vision
  • Citrix Systems
  • Cleveland Cliffs
  • Cordis Neurovascular
  • Cordis Regulatory Affairs
  • Cytec Industries
  • D. A. Stuart
  • Delmarva Foundation
  • Detroit Job Corps Center
  • DuPont
  • EarthLink
  • EKA Chemicals
  • Elan Pharmaceuticals
  • Goodrich Aerostructures
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Hyundai-Kia America Technology Center
  • Isis Pharmaceuticals
  • Jordan, Jones & Goulding
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Kilpatrick Stockton LLP
  • L3 Communications
  • Leroy Somer
  • The Lewin Group
  • Lowe's
  • Loudon Water
  • Luminant
  • Manhattan Associates
  • Maxim Healthcare
  • Millennium Engineering
  • Modern Technology Solutions
  • MSDSonline
  • Nestl� Purina
  • Northrop Grumman
  • OpalSoft
  • Port Authority of NY/NJ
  • Portland General Electric
  • PPG Industries
  • Prudential Financial
  • RTKL Associates
  • San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino
  • Schilling Robotics
  • Sikorsky
  • S1 Corporation
  • TIC Gums
  • Vanderlande Industries
  • ViaSat
  • Verizon Federal Markets
  • Verizon Wireless

Schedule This Training

For groups of 3 or more participants

Cypress Media Group presents this seminar as an on-site offering at your work location or at an off-site location of your choice. We can customize this training program to suit your precise training needs.

For economic reasons, this seminar is only offered to groups of roughly three or more people with the same training needs. If you have a group with similar training needs, please call us at 770-640-9918 or E-mail to discuss your interest.

For fewer than 3 participants

We do not offer this course as an open enrollment public offering for individuals. If you have fewer than three participants who are interested in this course, the cost will be the same as for a larger group.

Please call us at 770-640-9918 or E-mail to discuss your interest.

About the Instructor

Catherine Hibbard

Catherine S. Hibbard is a nationally recognized expert in business and technical writing. She conducts training seminars in technical and business writing, writing effective policies and procedures, and proofreading/editing.

Ms. Hibbard's client base, which is diverse and impressive, draws from both corporations and government agencies such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), several NASA centers, and numerous military branches. Her corporate clients include Nestlé Purina, Verizon, and Northrop Grumman to name just a few. She has been awarded contracts for large training initiatives with the Office of Professional Management (OPM), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Most Influential in Techcomm

Catherine was ranked 15th on The Top 100 Influencers in #Techcomm bloggers list in 2014.

She can be reached by e-mail at catherine@cypressmedia.net.

Connect to her on Linkedin.