Significance of Technical Communication for Success

Author : Dr Shalini Yadav 

Professor, Writer & Editor

In the present era of digitalization, industries have become very demanding in hiring professionals. One of the foremost needs of the industry is to have effective communication skills. That is why, even the curriculum is designed to enhance the skill set and technical knowledge the professionals gain in the duration of the course. As professional communication skills and technical expertise are equally important in industry, technical communication is preferably added in the curricula with other humanities-based subjects. Technical communication includes nitty-gritties of professional communication supplemented with technical writing giving emphasis on technical project proposals, survey and technical reports, presentations, technical articles among other writing tools. 

Initially, according to J. Harmer what he says in his article ‘The Changing world of English’, English was used like a lingua franca in India, where a plethora of indigenous languages made the use of any one of them as a whole-country system problematic. The imposition of English as the one language of administration helped maintain the colonizer’s power.’ Later due to the increased usage of English, it was added in school curricula at different levels and taught as a second language all over the country via traditional methods. 

Today, in a world where technological changes have occurred at a very fast pace, the methods and resources used in teaching English have also been updated. Nowadays classes are equipped with fixed data projectors, white boards and computers with round-the-clock Internet access where learners can use a search engine like Google and the results can be shown in seconds, moreover we have Chat GPT and other AI generated resources.

Usage of latest language learning resources has assisted English for gaining currency and supremacy as a global language and brought learners of it more close as a denizen of the global world, in this modern-day scenario. Therefore, S. Kumar and P. Lata in their book ‘Communication Skills’ write that it is proficiency in English that ‘fetches students their dream jobs; helps a professional surge ahead of others; keeps afloat multinational organization; elevates a common mortal to the dizzy heights of achievements; and in way, defines and redefines our existence in this competitive world.’ 

Whether you are a student of a technical institution, an executive or engineer working in an MNC, an entrepreneur trying to set up a business or a scientist working in the laboratory, everyone needs effective communication skills in order to be efficacious to perform tasks such as planning, organizing, executing, staffing, and controlling etc. Due to inclination towards technical courses like engineering in the past decade, technical communication and advanced media of oral and written communication are prescribed in the syllabi of technical courses to equip the learners with a skills’ set to decide their career’s curve. 

Engineers and other skill courses students as professionals have to be involved frequently in informal/formal conversations, discussions, meetings, presentations, phone calls, teleconferencing, videoconferencing and so on. Therefore fundamentals of communication are added for students with technical writing including project proposals, articles and various kinds of reports, which supports the students to be effective communicators and achieve their goals in life.

Technical communication includes simple definitions of tools, complex descriptions of machines and processes, or sophisticated explanation and interpretation of scientific principles: and also involves technical presentation of data in reports, proposals, manuals, bulletins, handbooks and articles. Consequently technocrats and professionals may face communication challenges that can be in the transmission of information effectively either to one individual or a group of professionals. To make it an effective transmission, linguistic competence is required with subject competence and organizational competence. 

With the info-revolution and socio-economic transformations in this epoch, the scope and impact of technical communiqué proficiencies have been amplified. Thus the world fitting as an international hub for commerce and technology sharing provides dais to the professionals for economic and professional growth at individual level and organizational level both. Since the space for utilizing one’s technical communication skills in any organization differs relying on the needs of the organization and industry considering product’s orientation and customers’ expectations; therefore, the following disciplines are assimilated within the broader term technical communication.

Technical marketing, technical editing, document design, translation, publishing or content delivery, information architecture, technical illustration, technical writing, instructional design, user experience design etc. are scope of applying knowledge gained through Technical Communication in Organizations.

The professional biosphere demands persons who can convey their viewpoints commendably, without any hesitation or lacuna in skills in the specific field. Frequently engineering learners underrate their requirement to be skilled in writing, designing, editing, marketing or elaborating the content distinctly, briefly and in operative style for diverse audiences- general and professionals. Upcoming engineering experts must advance technical communication skills effectively in themselves for broadening their work sphere. 

In their article ‘Technical Communication for Engineers: Improving Professional and Technical Skills’ A. G. Eggleston and R. J. Rabb talked about ‘integrating a sophomore-level, project-based, technical communications course, and reinforcing the knowledge and skills throughout the curriculum’ so that budding engineers be prepared ‘to meet current challenges in their disciplines’ and to be effective communicators for ‘a variety of audiences’. 

Technical communication is a wholesome package providing students expertise in the subsequent fields. It makes them understand the importance of communication in the professional world and dealing with issues and barriers and learning the strategies to eliminate barriers. It assists in considering ways of grabbing the listener's attention, holding their interest, and concluding strongly. It triggers learning to use appropriate body language and tone of voice for effective communication. It distinctly helps in communicating specific information from a technical field to a non-technical audience. 

The study aids in estimating usefulness and legitimacy of information means and resources, such as websites, business brochures and documents, and professional journals and magazines etc. It also helps in developing strategies for information design, to include producing visually enhanced documents and also in editing documents with peer exchange and according to professional guidelines.

Though technical communication skills are vital to professional success, it not only depends on one’s bravura manner of communicating but also ‘on the ability to analyze, organize, and present essential information effectively’. 

The emerging IT sector is generating an inducing effect on technical communication skills including adoption of high-tech communication capabilities, competency to put forward and describe complex technical information in a simple and familiar style, ability to understand and explain quantitative data, cultural awareness capability, and ability to analyze and prioritize information. Due to the prioritization of technical communication skills over technical and professional skills, students need to realize that without effective technical communication skills, knowledge of highly sophisticated technical or professional skills will be inadequate. 

Knowledge of technical communication and skills also help in web developing hence it enables web developers to interconnect efficiently with their customers and apprehend their needs. They can elucidate technical details in a manner that is comprehensible to the non-technical audience.

Technical skills abet technical communicators in developing interfaces, overall layout, and user experience. Thus many technocrats for fats money gain do make websites that are user-friendly. It also helps in reducing the risk of errors and bugs while project completion and ensures functionality optimization. (The author has his own study and views)