Empathetic Engineers in Professional Practice

by Laura Patterson Good design and good writing are, in many ways, invisible to the user.  If something is designed well, then the user is able to use it as intended without necessarily thinking about the design.  In order to achieve that invisible nature of good design in physical objects as well as documents, empathy is an … [Read more...]

Changing Stereotypes: Engineers Can (and Need to) Communicate

Engineers and communication do not mix: this notion remains commonplace among engineers themselves, as well as part of the stereotype of “the engineer” that is pervasive in the public eye. This is despite the fact that communication is now seen to be pivotal to key engineering tasks, such as analysis, problem solving, and design, and in most of the … [Read more...]

Using Data AND Story to Persuade Readers

For a technical audience of engineers, quantitative data often holds the key to persuasion. For more general audiences, however, narrative or storytelling has been shown to potentially hold greater sway. In addition, the effectiveness of both techniques is context-based and contingent on the type of response one might induce.  Research on both … [Read more...]

Lecturer Position in Professional Writing at the University of California, Davis

The UC Davis University Writing Program invites applications for full-time lecturers to teach advanced undergraduate courses in professional writing. We especially anticipate needs in writing for engineering, writing for business, technical writing, and science writing. … [Read more...]

Think like your audience for better, more effective communication

One of the cardinal sins in professional communication is to focus on what you want to say, rather than what your audience needs to hear. A poet or a novelist may have the privilege of their audiences wanting to hear what they have to say, but if you’re trying to either (1) inform or (2) persuade your audience, as most professional communicators … [Read more...]

Special Issue on Plain Language Wins Best Collection of Original Essays 2019 from 4Cs

The IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication Special Issue on Plain Language has been chosen for the CCCC award for (Council on College Composition and Communication) Best Collection of Original Essays in Scientific and Technical Communication. Congratulations to the authors, and especially the editors of the issue: Natalya Matveeva, … [Read more...]

Listening as Engineering Communication

When we talk about “professional” or “engineering” communication, we almost exclusively focus on the skills required to deliver our intended messages to others. Even on this site, we almost exclusively focus on tips, skills, and techniques around writing and speaking persuasively and effectively (though sometimes we talk about visuals). But in a … [Read more...]

Tell your Story: Understanding Narrative to Engage Audiences

One of the most frequent things we hear from audiences - both of reports and presentations - who fail to engage with and understand the content being communicated is: “What’s the story?” It may seem like an odd request, since engineering communication may not seem to have a narrative arc. We’re not working in fiction, after all. Yet engineering … [Read more...]

Making the Unfamiliar Familiar: Metaphors as a Strategy for Clarifying Technical and Scientific Concepts

For the engineers that I have taught, one of the most challenging communication tasks is explaining scientific concepts to less technical audiences, such as the general public. Yet explaining their work to the public – and other audiences with varying levels of technical know how – is a key part of many engineering positions, and doing this well is … [Read more...]

Revised IEEE ProComm Constitution and Bylaws

Season's greetings everyone! Just a quick note that our constitution and bylaws have been revised, approved by the Board of Governors, and approved by the Vice President of Technical Activities for the IEEE on December 20th, 2018. These documents, available below, will go into effect "unless at least ten (10) percent of the Society members object … [Read more...]