Technical Writing
Target Audience
This workshop is geared to professionals (mid-level and above) who write about highly specialized subjects in science, engineering, economics, and other technical fields. Typically, participants are intimately familiar with their subject. Often, their readers are not.

Specific Focus
This workshop focuses on a specific document. Participants can come from any profession as long as they’re all writing the same thing – the imagery analysis, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the software manual, the Environmental Impact Statement, or any other distinct document.

Limiting the training to one document is essential because each highly specialized document has its own "physics": conventions differ tremendously from occasion to occasion; expectations differ from readership to readership. For example, phrasing that is instantly clear to patent attorneys reading an Office Action from the U.S. Patent Office would give goosebumps to readers who are experts in medical research. But the medical folks, using their terminology and conventions, would make the patent attorneys' hair stand on end. What we call "technical writing" is simply writing about a specialized subject. The only thing that matters is whether the intended readers find the text easy or difficult to understand.

Objectives of the Training
Exactly what we concentrate on in any Tech Writing workshop depends on a number of variables. However, all participants come away with the instruction in the framework of Effective Writing for Professionals. We always adjust this framework to emphasize what participants most need to learn, and we cover these issues pertaining to specialized writing:

  • How to make use of reader's "default"1 for the document
  • When to use technical terms and when to paraphrase
  • When to use an acronym, a key word, or the entire phrase
  • When to explain the use of a technical abbreviation
  • How to create easy-to-read tables
  • How to present data visually in appropriate graphs and charts
  • When to include drawings and screenshots
  • How to use headings and sub-headings to maximum effect
  • When to use footnotes, when to use endnotes, and when to include ideas in text

Tailoring the training
We customize every presentation. By using participants' on-the-job documents as examples (for discussion) and exercises (for revision), we ensure that the training will be realistic, relevant, and practical. And because we know that the hands-on approach is the most effective, we have the participants write. To guarantee that each workshop will be helpful and immediately useful, we create (for each presentation) writing exercises that reflect situations your writers encounter in their day-to-day writing.

1The reader's default is the series of assumptions he makes about a text, given his experience of the world, of communication, of the subject matter, and of this particular document. Making use of what the reader already knows and assumes can save the writer a lot of time and can greatly simplify the expression of complex material.

Lauchman Group
1324 Wild Oak
Rockville, MD 20852

Telephone 301-315-6040
Fax 301-838-9044

Our Clientele
ABB Environmental Services
American Bankers Association
American Chemical Society
American Institute of Architects
American Red Cross
American Security Bank
Agency for International Development
The Baldwin Group
British Aerospace
Bureau of the Public Debt
CAIS Internet
Central Intelligence Agency
Chevy Chase Federal Savings Bank
Defense Communications Agency
Defense Informations Systems Agency
Defense Intelligence Agency
Defense Logistics Agency
Defense Mapping Agency
Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce
Department of Energy
Department of Homeland Security
Department of the Interior
DoD Office of the Comptroller
DoD Office of Health Affairs
DoD Office of Family Policy Support and Services
Edison Electric Institute
Fannie Mae
Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Home Loan Bank Board
Federal Trade Commission
First American Bankshares
Freddie Mac
Goddard Space Flight Center
ICF Kaiser Engineers
I.M. Systems Group
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
InterAmerican Foundation
John Hanson Savings and Loan
Lockheed Martin
Military District of Washington
Mortgage Bankers Association
NASA Headquarters
National Archives and Records Administration
National Association of Child Care Resource
   & Referral Agencies
National Education Association
National Institutes of Health
National Cancer Institute
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal
National Institutes of Science and Technology
National Ocean Service
Naval Research Laboratory
Nextel Communications
Northeast-Midwest Institute
Office of Technology Assessment
Perot Systems
Perpetual Savings Bank
Potomac Electric Power Company
Project Performance Corporation
Riggs National Bank
Ryland Homes
Sallie Mae
Small Business Administration
Smithsonian Institution
State Department
Technology Planning and Management Corporation
United Savings Bank
U.S. Geological Survey
U.S. Office of Personnel Management
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office