Solution: Prioritize Writing
Writing should not be an afterthought. For each major activity, documentation should be integrated into project management and time planning.
By considering writing as part of the engineering process, creating the text will feel less onerous and more natural. Do not leave the writing to the last minute, as rushed writing is generally bad writing. Carve out time to plan, write and review the document.
Solution: Engage in the Review Cycle
Check your text through both Microsoft Word’s Spelling and Grammar check with its Readability tool and the online Grammarly tool. Then, review the document again with the audience in mind. The most effective trick is to read the text aloud. Reading will highlight awkward phrases, unnecessary words, and repetition.
The review process takes many forms. Most engineering companies have an internal review process using some variation of first draft-revised draft-final version. The revisions are completed by colleagues, supervisors or fellow experts. Understand the company’s review process and integrate into your writing timeline.
The review provides a fresh perspective. Feedback and edits improve the document and offer valuable lessons for future writing. Take advantage of this learning opportunity.
The review process can also be informal. If the executive you’re preparing the document for and your best friend have a similar level of knowledge of the topic, ask your friend to review your text. Friends and family can be a great resource to review your text for non-expert readability and accessibility. You can also ask your colleagues to do an initial review before sending it to the formal review.
Additionally many engineering firms offer technical writing courses for their employees. These courses often come with document feedback and review. This allows you to receive objective feedback on the structure, style, and tone of your writing.