Understanding the Differences Between Business Communications and Technical Writing
Effective communication is the bedrock of success, no matter how big or small a business may be. Two vital pillars of communication within organizations are business communications and technical writing. While intertwined, these disciplines have unique characteristics that set them apart.
Business Communication: The Voice of the Organization
Business communication delivers information, ideas, and messages that direct organizational processes, enhance collaboration, and achieve strategic objectives. It encompasses internal and external communication channels and plays an important role in shaping a company's identity, culture, and relationships. Business communication contains various written, verbal, visual, and non-verbal forms, each tailored to specific contexts and recipients.
The Core Components of Business Communication:
Internal Communication: Fosters seamless collaboration within an organization, promoting shared understanding and alignment of goals among employees at all levels.
External Communication: Establishes connections with stakeholders outside the organization, such as customers, partners, investors, and the public, shaping the company's reputation and market presence.
Corporate Documentation: Encompasses reports, proposals, emails, memos, presentations, and other forms of content that encapsulate critical business information.
Crisis Communication: Navigates sensitive situations, ensuring transparent and empathetic communication during challenging times.
Technical Writing: Precision in Clarity
Technical writing creates clear, concise, and accessible content to convey complex technical information to a particular audience. It bridges the gap between subject matter experts and those seeking to understand technical concepts, products, or processes. Technical writing simplifies intricate information without sacrificing accuracy.
Technical writing is often split between two main types: tangible and intangible. A tangible concept requires the user to do something with a physical product, such as installing computer software or assembling a piece of furniture. Intangible concepts include ideas and processes instead of objects—for example, office rules or policies.
Fundamental Tenets of Technical Writing:
Clarity: Articulates technical information to the intended audience, employing concise language and organized structure.
Audience-Centric Approach: Adapts content to suit the reader's background, knowledge, and purpose, ensuring relevance and engagement.
Accuracy: Upholds factual correctness and precision, as inaccuracies can lead to confusion or safety concerns in technical contexts.
Document Types: Encompasses user manuals, instructional guides, white papers, technical specifications, and more, that act as essential aids for product use and problem-solving.
Distinguishing Business Communication and Technical Writing
Purpose and Audience
Business Communication: Aims to help a wide range of organizational interactions, addressing internal and external stakeholders, often with a broader scope. Often, the purpose might be to inspire an action, such as purchasing a product or signing up for a newsletter, as in marketing and advertising.
Technical Writing: Targets individuals who need specific technical information, with a narrower focus on conveying complex concepts or instructions.
Tone and Style
Business Communication: Adapts tone and style based on the context, ranging from formal to informal, depending on the relationship with the recipient.
Technical Writing: Emphasizes clarity and precision, employing a formal tone to ensure the accurate transmission of technical details. As there is only one goal in technical writing, to clearly explain a concept, there is very little variance in tone. Unlike in marketing, there is no persuasion needed. The tone of technical writing should be neutral and competent.
Business Communication: Deals with a spectrum of topics, from company updates to market reports, with varying levels of complexity.
Technical Writing: Focuses on intricate technical details that demand simplification without compromising accuracy, catering to readers seeking specific information.
Business Communication: Offers diverse formats, such as presentations, emails, and reports, with flexible structures tailored to the communication's purpose.
Technical Writing: Adheres to standardized structures that guide readers through technical information, often featuring step-by-step instructions or troubleshooting guides.
While business communication and technical writing are pivotal in effective organizational communication, they operate in distinct spheres. Business communication is a versatile conduit for inter- and intra-organizational interactions, while technical writing is the bridge between experts and seekers of technical information.
At Scriptorium, our writers combine information into a clear, concise, and functional end product. We are able to create a project plan, write and edit, and add a little polish. Our technical writing portfolio includes:
Procedures and safe work practices
Policy and governance manuals
Safety and office forms
Scriptorium is ready to write technical and business content that reflects your expertise, values, and company. Contact us for a consultation.