Professionals in engineering, IT, and science should have good business writing skills. To get support, funding, and adoption, it's important to explain complex ideas to non-experts. Much of your business writing will be to persuade or educate. This means your writing must be understood and motivate action from your readers. This post shares tips to help technical thinkers master business writing.
Know Your Audience
As an expert in your field, your knowledge exceeds that of your readers. Resist the urge to dive too deep into technical details. Your goal is not to impress your readers with your intelligence. Your goal is to help them understand what you can do for them and instill confidence in you. Think carefully about what your audience needs to understand to make decisions and take action. Shape your writing to speak to their level of knowledge. It is good to examine what you write and ask if a freshman or sophomore in high school would understand it.
Structure and Organize Carefully
Good structure is crucial when communicating complicated technical matters. Use section headings, bulleted lists, charts, and graphics to make complex information digestible. Logically walk readers through your points. Help them follow along with clear sequence and transitions.
Here are a few practical steps for creating good structure and organization. Break up your long sentences which contain more than three steps or processes by using bulleted lists. Delete redundant clauses such as "for the project" or "on behalf of the client." For complex ideas that require logical steps, break the ideas down into subheadings and separate paragraphs.
Simplify Language, but not Concepts
Avoid overly complex words and sentences when writing for non-technical audiences. But do not oversimplify or omit important nuances in the concepts. Find ways to accurately convey the essence using straightforward language. It is sometimes helpful to use metaphors and similes to compare complex ideas with more common images. Find big words in your writing and ask yourself if a smaller word will do. Avoid using industry cliches and jargon. Find new and interesting ways to say the same thing, but in a different way. Seek feedback to ensure you have stuck to the core ideas.
Emphasize Practical Applications
Technical thinkers get energized solving real-world problems. When writing for business audiences, play to this strength. Show how your technical insights can make processes more efficient and methods more useful. Demonstrate the impact of your expertise. For example, you could explain that a "water hammer is when fluid is forced to stop or change direction suddenly, such as when a valve closes or a hydrant opens abruptly, therefore causing a water line to collapse or leak at bolted joints." That last sentence is long and overly explanatory. A better way to explain water hammer is "Water hammer happens when fluid is suddenly forced to stop or change direction. It can cause a water line to collapse or leak."
Technical experts have so much valuable wisdom to share if they can articulate it to others. Technical thinkers can become adept at business writing. Focus on audience, structure, language, and application.
As a professional services marketer in the A|E|C industry, your workweek is an assault on your brain, body, and spirit. The demands of your job are fast-paced. Expectations of staying ever-connected, always available, and an organization ninja are completely unrealistic. It's no surprise that personal wellness seems unachievable. Many of us struggle to balance our work demands, technological distractions, and healthy lifestyle choices. To shed light on these challenges, I conducted a personal wellness survey. The results were eye-opening, yet instructive. In this post, we will delve into the survey data and provide practical recommendations to improve your well-being and lead a more balanced life.
1. Disconnect to Reconnect - Sleep!
The survey revealed that 4 out of 10 marketers often or regularly have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Sleep is crucial for overall health and productivity. Poor sleep patterns can have adverse effects on both mental and physical well-being.
2. Fuel Your Day Right
Surprisingly, 45% of respondents do not eat breakfast regularly, or their breakfast diet is imbalanced. Breakfast is often considered the most important meal of the day as it kickstarts your metabolism and provides essential nutrients.
3. Work Overload
Over half (54%) of the respondents often or regularly reported having more work than what is possible within a 40-hour week. Work overload can lead to burnout, reduced productivity, and increased stress levels.
4. The Power of Saying "No"
On a positive note, 59% of respondents felt comfortable saying "No" to their supervisors when necessary. This assertiveness is essential in maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
5. Successful People Delegate
Shockingly, only 19% of respondents had the option to delegate tasks to others. This suggests potential understaffing issues or inefficient workflow practices.
6. Make Exercise a Routine
More than half (53%) of the respondents admitted to rarely or sometimes getting 30 minutes of daily exercise. Regular physical activity is crucial for overall well-being and can significantly impact productivity and mental clarity.
7. Digital Detox
Worryingly, only 30% of respondents felt they could ignore their phones, emails, and texts when needed. This indicates a growing trend of difficulty in managing online habits.
The personal wellness survey highlights the challenges many of us face in maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle. These recommendations are a start. If you are serious about changing your habits create accountability. This may mean hiring a life coach or going to a few counseling sessions with a therapist. Investing in your well-being improves your productivity, creativity, and overall quality of life. Make a commitment to yourself and take the first steps towards a healthier, more fulfilling existence. Your well-being is worth it!
Take the 3-Minute Personal Wellness Survey HERE!
AEC marketers face many common challenges. Problems may vary depending on the organization and market conditions. However, the following five issues seem to be the most common:
1. Differentiation and Competitive Advantage.
AEC firms often struggle to differentiate themselves. The industry is highly competitive, yet most firms copy each other in marketing language and presentation. This is where AEC marketers need to help their firms find unique selling propositions. Once established, these unique propositions need to be communicated effectively to the right audience. Places to search for unique selling propositions exist in levels of expertise, project experience, innovation, and sustainable practices.
2. Targeting and Reaching the Right Audience.
Once unique propositions are identified AEC marketers must target the right audience. Most firms struggle to properly identify the appropriate audience. This is crucial for marketing messages to succeed. The AEC industry has diverse market segments with diverse stakeholders. Marketing messages must be tailored for clients, contractors, architects, government agencies, and end-users. Marketers are always refining their targeting strategies to effectively communicate their value propositions to the right audience.
3. Technical Complexity and Communication.
AEC projects often involve intricate technical details and specialized knowledge. Great marketers translate challenging technical concepts into compelling and understandable messages. This requires time and intention to study your firm's technical capabilities. Communicating the benefits and value of AEC services in a clear, concise, and engaging manner is essential.
4. Long Sales Cycles and Relationship Building.
The AEC industry involves long sales cycles due to projects' complexity and high-value nature. Therefore, client relationships are the backbone of winning work. Marketers and technical professionals must build strong relationships with clients and prospective clients. Marketers and technical professionals must nurture leads. On-going engagement is crucial with active projects and when clients are slow. Being top-of-mind throughout the decision-making process is essential. This is accomplished through effective relationship-building, relevant content, and consistent engagement.
5. Limited Marketing Budgets
AEC firms often allocate limited budgets for marketing activities compared to other industries. Marketers must maximize the impact of the efforts with limited resources. To do this, marketers prioritize their initiatives, leverage cost-effective channels, and show return-on-investment (ROI).
There are many factors that dictate the unique challenges of each AEC marketer;
Gabe Lett, FSMPS, CPSM, LPC