Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Helpful Resources for New Bloggers

Monday, October 23, 2006

First of all, let me take this opportunity to congratulate all the readers of this blog a very happy and a prosperous deepawali and Eid. On this day, we celebrate the festival of lights and a victory of good versus evil, and also we pray that there is only one god and i.e. the mankind.

When you talk of skills for technical writers, what does it come into your mind? Is it just soft skills or just technical skills, or both of them?

Well, I believe, a technical writer should have more of soft skills than technical skills.

Technical writing involves translating the technical information into more easily understandable language. They prepare a lot of scientific and technical reports, operating and maintenance manuals, catalogues, assembly instructions, sales materials and project proposals. Thus, to be an effective technical writer, you require a good mixture of technical as well as soft skills, such as communication skills and listening skills. Few of the soft skills include the following:

  • Analyzing audiences
  • Interviewing different people, such as subject matter experts etc.
  • Facilitating meetings
  • Managing projects
  • Working without direct supervision
  • Understanding the product single-handedly
  • Having knowledge of different mediums, such as user manuals, marketing literature, technical illustrations, documentation, and so on.

It’s very important for a technical writer to communicate properly either with the client, user, or the developers to produce an effective documentation. The soft skills help a technical writer to build a healthy business relationship with the audience. In addition to this, a technical writer must be patient enough. There may be situations when the technical writers do not get much attention from their peers, developers, and client and so on. Being patient, it helps them to have a keen hope of being granted a one-to-one discussion with different people. Technical writers also must have an ability to quickly understand the information that they seek from different people. This helps them to save time and avoid any further repetitive discussions with different people. It is also equally important for the technical writers to have good researching skills. This means that the technical writers must be able to research properly on the information on which they have to prepare the documentation. It allows them to add value to the documentation.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The art of communicating: How effective is it for technical writers?

Recently, I read an article on communication skills, which says that communicating
with people is a tough job. It's not only tough but also difficult as it's a skill that requires you to practice daily. Communication means exchange - a communion demands that we listen and speak skillfully, not just talk mindlessly. For any individual communication is a key aspect in business, workplace, or at the domestic front. It is an important and essential tool to maintain good interpersonal relationships. Certain studies reveal that good communication skills have changed millions of lives.

Do you have it in you?

Let us understand the purpose of communication. Communication is the process of conveying your message to an individual or a group. Sometimes, during the process of communication people might misinterpret the conveyed messages, leading to needless confusion and counter productivity. Thus, for any communication to be successful the listener has to understand the exact message that is conveyed. In a recent survey of recruiters from the organizations of more than 50,000 employees, communication skill plays a major role in deciding a manager of the company. To effectively communicate, you must consider the following key things:

· The actual message
· The audience
· Perception of the message

There are certain barriers in communication that have a potential to create confusion as well as misunderstanding. Thus to communicate effectively, you need to minimize these barriers at each stage of the communication process. You need to be clear, concise, and accurate in your communication.

Ensure that the message you want to convey is short, organized, and accurate. In addition, avoid using poor verbal and body language that might confuse the listener.

Follow these rules to communicate effectively and build healthy relationships:

You versus I messages
During the communication process, try to use the first person (I) as they avoid blaming or accusing the receiver of the messages. For instance, it’s always better when you say, “When you cannot mail it to the client, I will prefer to mail it myself” instead of saying “You should have to mailed to the client”.

Communicate the complete message
Any message consists of four key components: observations, thoughts, feelings, and needs. If any of these components is missing, your message is incomplete which again confuses the listener.

Avoid using your feelings
While communicating, do not reveal your feelings to the listener. This might form a negative impression in the minds of the listeners. Be specific about the message and keep your voice under control.

Be problem-focused rather than person-focused
While communicating, use appropriate words that focus on the action and not on the character or the personality of the listener. Avoid criticism as it tends to blame and attack the individual personally.

Use a proper body language
You might be clear in conveying your message, but if your body language is inappropriate the whole message could be misunderstood. Try to avoid the following gestures while communicating:

· Rolling your eyes
· Crossing your legs or arms
· Tapping your foot
· Gritting your teeth

Avoid using any mixed messages
While conveying a message try to stick to a particular subject and avoid mixing compliments and complaints.

Resolve grudges and misunderstandings
If you have certain negative feelings about your listener, resolve them rather than letting the grudge into contempt. If your verbal or nonverbal behavior such as obvious abuse, insults, name calling, and so on conveys a lack of respect, your relationship with the other person is in danger. Any relationship that is beleaguered by abusiveness and negativity will have a very difficult time surviving.

Do not indulge in stonewalling
Theorists call the behavior of shutting down as stonewalling, which means refusing to communicate or storming out of the room. Thus, communication is impossible when you are stonewalling, because you refuse to participate in the communication process. Sometimes, stonewalling may even damage a healthy relationship. For more information on stonewalling, read the famous book Why Marriages Succeed or Fail and How You Can Make Yours Last by John Gottman.

In the end, I will like to quote the famous words of Carl W. Buechner who said, “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Thus, to be an effective communicator, you need to express your thoughts, ideas, and feelings to others but it is also essential to remember that you need do this very judiciously.

Monday, October 09, 2006

A letter to a friend

Hi Friend..

(this is a letter from a true to another true friend....it may belong to anyone..)

Whenever, I remember the day when we met, I feel tears im my eyes..its not tears of sadness..but tears of happiness. because, it was you made me realize the meaning of true friendship..somehow, I came to believe that somewere there are still some true friends who exist in this world. I dont know how we met whether it was destiny or what..but whatever it was, it was a very special moment for me as I got to know a person whom I will remember till the death do us apart..I can remember the days when I used to spent time with you and share my grief and happiness with you, and even I could share some of my confidenial secrets with you with a belief in mind that is called a "TRUST"...A true friendship is one where there is trues..and when there is no trust..there doesnt exist any friendship..I still remember the day when you were in a midst of career fall-down and I had made you realize the path that you need to take..it wasnt I who said you those words..but it was a true friend who was trying to empathize you..My intentions were not to console you but to take you out of that moment...and you very well did..I still remember the day I was down mentally and you had brought me up and cherished me that really lifted my spirits..

For that is the true quality of friendship where a true friend always inspires you to do well..and understands you well..and above all lifts up your spirits..
the dictionary meaning of a friend is one who knows you well and regards you with affection and trust. A friend is a person with whom you are acquinted..who backs you or supports you in all your decisions..

and I would always like you to be my friend forwever...and always...

from a friend...

Friday, October 06, 2006

It’s all about what we think….

Our mind is just like a computer where there is processing going on each time. Our mind is also full of thoughts and ideas that keep on coming. We cannot stop our mind to think but we can control the way we think by being present in the now. Our mind always comes across two types of thoughts, positive as well as negative. And, there is always a conflict between the two types of thoughts. It depends upon your actions and how you behave to certain things that allow you to win against each of these thoughts.

The dictionary meaning of a positive thought is being optimistic or confident or focus on good things. The more you use words like “I can” or “I will” or “I shall”..the more you start cultivating your mind with positive thoughts. A positive thought brings what it is called, a fighting spirit within you. It is this “fighting spirit” that allows you to avoid any kind of fear of doing things or making new friends or finding a true love in your life. So, in a way, a positive thought allows you to get rid of any kind of insecurity.

On the other hand, a negative thought is just an opposite of positive thought which means being pessimistic. A negative thought in your mind tends to have a detrimental outlook. For example, if a person uses words/sentences like “I am not good at any thing” or I cant do this”, then these thoughts pull the person down so as not to believe in him/her or in what he/she can do. The negative thoughts are like evils that build a wall around you disallowing you to even try out things which you feel that you can do.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Lost in the big city....

Well, I live in delhi..its a metro and as a matter of fact its a capital of India. We have accessibility to all the things that are required to lead a daily life such as buses, metro rail, cars, etc....but still there is something that is missing somewhere...

Somewhere, I feel we are running too fast and we are moving too much ahead of time...in order to achieve something..We are trying ourselves too hard to press ourselves to succeed that is causing us to lead a stressfull life. Why is it that people who live in big cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Calcutta only have more heart attacks as compared to people who live in small towns..Its due to a simple reason that people in small towns tend to take life easily..they tend to live in a friendly manner...they also want to earn money..who doesnt want it anyways?? but in an other way, they also dont forget the importance of relationships..to help each other at all times..to make otehrs comfortable and at ease..which is not at all there in big cities due to the rush life..

And, this rush life is created by us..the individuals..it is man-made..