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...]

In Memoriam Rudolph J. Joenk, Jr., PhD (1932-2018)

Rudy Joenk, longtime member of the IEEE Professional Communication Society, passed away in Boulder, CO on 5 November 2018. Born in St. Louis, MO, he graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1953. After 21 months of active duty service in the US Army Ordnance Corps, he attended the University of … [Read more...]

Understanding Emotional Competencies in Engineering

Figure 1: Goleman's Emotional Competencies  Most would agree that emotional intelligence (EI) is essential to effectively managing and participating in teams, which is a key aspect of engineering work. Yet it’s not often taught in an engineering curriculum or discussed in the workplace. In her IEEE ProComm 2015 conference paper [1] and video … [Read more...]

Engineering Design as Translation

Consider engineering as an act of translation, generating and applying different representations (words, models, equations, diagrams, etc.) to the practices of design and problem solving. The engineer perpetually moves between the world of theory and reality, and each step in between requires translation. As they design, they must also negotiate … [Read more...]

3Q18 Issue of IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication

The September 2018 issue of the IEEE Transactions on Professional Communicationhas recently been published online. If you are a paper subscriber, you will receive the issue, printed together with the December issue, in early December. Volume 61, Number 3, September 2018 Research Article—Framing Controversy on Social Media: #NoDAPL and the Debate … [Read more...]