No matter what job you have in life, your success will be determined 5% by your academic credentials, 15% by your professional experiences, and 80% by your communication skills. - Stephen Wang
Over the last twenty years in manufacturing, I have gained many valuable skills that have enabled me to become a well-rounded professional and leader. However, if I had to name one skill-set that has provided me influence and has propelled my career, it would be Technical Storytelling. No matter what discipline, experience level, or background you may have, everyone loves reading a great story.
Opposed to creative writing, technical storytelling (or writing) is the skill of communicating information in a highly specialized field, including, but not limited to, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It's the art of communicating in a way that presents technical information so that the reader can use that information for an intended purpose.
Effectively communicating complex, technical stories to those without expertise in a given specialty is challenging; but it can be done. I have personally written hundreds of technical documents from procedures, white papers, failure analysis reports, and strategy documents, and in all cases, I have followed many of the steps outlined by Erin Gutsche in this #hack.
With a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Calgary, and a minor in petroleum engineering, Erin has 10+ years of working with technical material. She is "certified gold" when it comes to technical storytelling and we are honored to have her share a simple guide to help you effectively tell stories and reach your audience.
Fun Fact: In her first year of studies, Erin took an English course and enjoyed it so much that she almost switched her major.
Hack Author: Erin Gutsche, P.Eng., CMRP
Erin Gutsche is the founder and president of Words with Purpose Inc. She is a professional mechanical engineer in the province of Alberta, Canada, a Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professional (CMRP) with the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP), a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and a member of Editors Canada.