Give it to Me Straight: Writing Clearly

Blog » Give it to Me Straight: Writing Clearly

Posted on 04 Feb 2013 22:34

After hearing so much from various engineering professors and guest speakers in engineering lectures, I can safely assume that engineering in any capacity involves the solving of problems. Engineers want to solve the problem posed to them in quick, efficient, and reasonable means, and I’m sure they hope to do their job well enough that whatever it is that they are working on doesn’t need to be fixed again anytime in the near future. In essence, I imagine most engineers would have the mindset of getting the job done right the first time.

Part of being an engineer (as I have been told) is to approach a problem from a different perspective from most people in order to solve it in a logical way. Sometimes engineers must really stretch their minds to find the solutions to these problems, but I would assume most qualified engineers are in the positions they have reached by being clever and resourceful when faced with problems. However, simply knowing the answer to a problem does not suffice since many other people will be doing the “grunt work” to make that solution come to fruition.

For this reason, one of the most integral skills all engineers should have is good, clear communication. What good is knowing the most efficient way to construct a device that will be used to aid surgeons in an operation if you can’t convey the idea to peers and the people who will actually be constructing the item? One of the highest priorities for an engineer besides actually looking at the validity of ideas and prototypes would be communication to make those things happen. Engineers must work as sort of all-knowing teachers. From what I have heard in my classes so far, a typical engineer should be a jack-of-all-trades. Knowing how to pitch an idea successfully to the business side of a company, conversing with co-workers to solve problems and issues, explaining sketches and models to the development areas, and correcting the directions for construction of items in the assembly stage of a product are all skills an engineer needs to work at top performance, and all require one basic skill: communication.

Engineers sometimes have to write proposals for work just for companies to choose their idea. Before anything can get made, the engineers have to write statements and reasons why their ideas should work so they don’t waste more time making an item that had no chance of success from the beginning. Giving clear, concise directions is one of the most important things an engineer can do, according to my professor from last semester. If the manufacturers are putting an item together incorrectly, the only person who can stop them and tell them to change their process is the head engineer of the project. He has to give very detailed instructions to the workers, or he still runs the risk that his product will be incorrectly made, ultimately resulting in time delays and loss of funds. Obviously, working as head engineer of a project would entail a great deal of time and effort, but the job could be made much easier if said engineer had good writing and communication skills in the workplace.

I feel confident as a writer. I wouldn’t say my strong suit is speaking extremely eloquently, but I can definitely get a point across clearly enough to a reader. I think I could explain directions or a process clearly to someone in a way that minimizes miscommunication. Since I can write clearly, I think my writing in a professional setting would be strong since specificity and clear statements are necessary to share work with co-workers and other associates without running into confusion or issues over wording. I know I can still practice how specifically I describe situations or objects, because I would want to avoid any degree of vagueness when giving directions to someone on how to complete a task. I saw an example of this in my summer internship when my boss asked me to do a task, but she rushed in giving directions, and I was confused and lost while trying to complete the report I was working on. She later explained the work in greater detail, and suddenly my objective became much clearer. I saw firsthand that detail and explicit instructions go a very long way and serve to save wasted time and effort. Hopefully, I can practice writing in such a way that transitioning from college or grad school to a professional workplace will be a non-issue in terms of my writing capabilities and strengths.

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