It is very important to understand your audience when writing technical documents. You need to know their background, their knowledge, their education, their skills. You also need to know their attitude, how they feel about yoru subject. Are they going to be supportive or antagonistic?
For every written assignment you do in this course, I want you to perform a simple pre-writing technique. I want you to submit with your document a Cover Sheet that analyzes such concepts as the writer’s knowledge and attitude, as well as your purpose for writing and what style of writing you are using. This is a procedure that will require you to think about audience prior to beginning your assignment. I want this done as a pre-writing exercise. I will not accept a Cover Sheet for an assignment after the assignment is completed.
Use the following format to organize and develop your Cover Sheet. Remember, you will use this format for each document you write.
ENGLISH 235- TECHNICAL WRITING MEYERS
Assignment: Memo (or whatever document you are writing)
Organization: Kmart (what organization are you representing? You are not yet referring to your reader)
READER(S)/AUDIENCE (what person or group): Wanda Guynup
Position in organization: Personnel manager.
Prior knowledge of this subject: Has dealt with this situation before; knows how to handle it; knows me and other employees.
Prior attitude toward this subject: Does not know or see what is going on; not there when it occurs; does not like dealing with this situation because does not like conflict; not favorite area.
Prior attitude toward me (the writer): Expects me to be a diligent worker Has faith in my ability to provide accurate information.
Reasons for reading (how reader will use document): It is part of her job to solve internal conflicts; curious.
Probable response (action expected) to this: Will read it; do something to solve the problem; use my suggestions; ignore it.
WRITER/SENDER (Name and section): Nichole Smith – Engish 235-02C
Position (for this writing): Employee seeking solution.
Purpose for writing: Fed up with other employees not doing their work; tired of picking up the “slack;” want a solution.
Tone wanted here: Serious, encouraging.
Type of document: Bad news memo: Full-block format.
Order of information: (How are you going to organize your information?)
Graphics needed/included: N/A. (many documents will benefit from graphics)
My source of information: My own experience and from other employees’ experiences with the same problem.