TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Audience Awareness From:Romay Jean Sitze <rositze -at- NMSU -dot- EDU> Date:Mon, 28 Nov 1994 12:30:46 -0700
On Tue, 22 Nov 1994, David Blyth @second wrote:
> Personaly, I've never found "audience awareness" to be useful. If I'm
> not clearly explaining the material to begin with, then being aware of
> my audience isn't going to help. I am not aware of this audience. I
> simply try to communicate.
> I do make certain assumptions, but they impact WHAT I'm explaining
> rather than HOW I explain it.
I, too, make certain assumptions--and did so in the post to which David
responded. One of these assumptions is that the students will also be
concerned with the WHAT. However, I see this as being a critical part of
being audience aware. The choice of WHAT--or how much of WHAT to say
depends greatly on the needs of the audience--the degree of technical
expertise, how the information will be used (to base a decision on, to
create a product, for general information, etc.) all play a part. I want
my students to be alert to such factors as they write--just as I must be
when I write. For example, the documents I produce as a technical writer
for a small engineering company differ greatly from the types of documents
I produce for school. To break this down even further, I would not write
in the same style for my classes in management practices as I would for a
class in online documentation. The audience to a large extent determines
both style and purpose.