To get your message across effectively your writing must be free of error. For this
reason proofreading and editing are an important part of the writing process. Phillip
Verwey, a specialist in the technical field gives some tips to help you put your best
While every kind of writing style takes time and skill to properly execute, technical
reports can be even more challenging. Phillip Verwey talks about the editing and
proofreading aspect of writing.
So how many times should you proofread your work? Verwey believes it should
be done a minimum of 3 times. The same rules apply when editing someone else's
Start by reviewing the layout, fluency and flow. This first run through should be
a general overview of the report. During your second read, check punctuation,
grammar and sentence structure. "Finally read the piece from start to finish and
make sure everything fits together".
Another good tip is to allow someone else, preferably somebody with writing
experience to edit your work. Even though you know what you want to say your
writing may not always communicate your message effectively. Allow other people to
point out possible ambiguity or complicated thoughts.
Using programmes to edit your work is a good idea but remember that "spellcheck
doesn't always pick up incorrect sentence structure". Having a fresh pair of eyes can
help you see errors that may have been overlooked.
"Feedback should be neutral". Use a schematic to edit writing for others. Writers
should be able to understand corrections clearly and easily.
This is a major pitfall in technical report writing. Refrain from using technical
terms, says Verwey, unless you are writing to peers in the same sector.
Bear in mind that the final report will go to the CEO, the finance division, HR and
possibly a range of other departments so make sure that the language is accessible.
Use the KISS approach
"Most experts assume people understand'. This is perhaps the biggest blunder
writers make. A good rule to follow is to "Keep It Short and Simple. Steer clear of
long winded sentences and try not to communicate too many thoughts in a short
The Technical Report Writing course hosted by Alusani Skills & Training
Network® will teach you how to structure, draft and write technical reports.
You will also learn how to avoid common pitfalls and create a piece of writing that can be understood.