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Technical Communication, Principles and Practice, 2/E. Meenakshi Raman , Group Leader, Humanities and Management, BITS Pilani, Goa Sangeeta Sharma , Associate Professor of the Languages Group at BITS, Pilani. Chapter – 1 Introduction to Communication. Agenda Communication : Definition

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Technical Communication, Principles and Practice, 2/E

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Technical Communication, Principles and Practice, 2/E

Meenakshi Raman,Group Leader, Humanities and Management, BITS Pilani, Goa

Sangeeta Sharma, Associate Professor of the Languages Group at BITS, Pilani

Chapter – 1

Introduction to Communication


  • Communication : Definition

  • Essentials

  • Purpose and Audience

  • Cross-cultural variations

  • Language

  • Required Skills

  • Effectiveness

  • Modes

  • Verbal and Non- verbal

  • Importance


  • The word “communication” comes from the Latin word ‘Communicare’, which means to share, i.e., to share information , ideas between a sender and a receiver.

  • Communication is essential for the existence of our society

  • Plays a prominent role in the functioning of different professional organizations.

Communication Competence is situational; ability to express views in an effective manner, to achieve goals and enhance relationship.

To communicate successfully, one has to learn how to control emotions .


  • Timing

  • Place

  • Structure of the message

  • Medium

Purpose and Audience

Before communicating the message should be formulated according to the audience and purpose.

The purpose can be classified in to two broad categories:

  • General : inform, persuade, entertain

  • Specific : report on a survey, an interview

Cross- Cultural Variations

Culture is a complex concept, with a variety of definitions. It involves elements that may vary across cultures:

  • Language

  • Religion and belief

  • Values and attitudes

  • Politics and Law

  • Technology

  • Social Organization


Language is a system of words and sounds to communicate ideas in a meaningful way

Famous linguists Noam Chomsky and Saussure classified language as:

Artificial , Restricted , Abstract, Arbitrary

Creative , Redundant, Recursive

Required Skills

Four Major Communicative Skills (LSRW)

  • Listening

  • Speaking

  • Reading

  • Writing


Features essential for effective communication:

  • Clarity of the message that to be conveyed

  • Clarity about the purpose and objective of the research

  • Common language , background

  • Appropriate medium to convey the message

  • Appropriate feedback to the message


  • Formal and Informal

  • Oral and written

  • Internal and External

Oral Forms of Communication:

  • Face- to- face Conversations

  • Telephone Conversations

  • Meetings

  • Seminars

  • Conferences

  • Dictation

  • Presentation

  • Group Discussion

  • Interviews

  • Video Conferences


Written Form:

  • Memos , Letters , Emails, Faxes

  • Notices, Circulars, Newsletters

  • Reports, Proposals, Research Papers

  • Bulletins, Brochures

  • Manuals, In-house journals

Verbal and Non-verbal


Study physical movements of body parts.

Some Kinesics behaviors are deliberate.

Examples: Nodding head, blinking eyes, shrugging shoulder, waving hands, etc.

  • Personal appearance

  • Posture:

  • Slumped posture –low spirit

  • Erect posture- Confidence

  • Lean forward – defensive or disinterested

  • Crossed arms- defensive or not ready to listen

  • Uncrossed arms – willingness to listen

  • Gesture:

  • Enumerative - numbers

  • Descriptive - size of the object

  • Symbolic - abstract concepts

  • Locative - location of an object

  • Emphatic -emphasis

  • Facial expression:

  • Happiness

  • Disgust

  • Anger

  • Surprise

  • Fear

  • Sadness

  • Eye Contact


It is the study f physical space in interpersonal relations

Space is related to behavioral norms.

Edward T. Hall divides space into four Zones:

  • Intimate

  • Personal

  • Social

  • Public


  • It is the study of how human beings communicate through their use of time.

  • People have their own time language

  • Time language also varies from culture to


Importance of Technical communication

  • Life line of business

  • measure of the success, growth

  • link within & outside

  • tangible product of the work

  • valuable repository of information

  • develops desirable qualities

  • reveals gaps in thinking

Communication can be divided into two types:

  • General Communication

  • Technical Communication

General Vs Technical

General communication

Technical Communication

Technical message

Mostly Formal

Follows a set pattern

Both oral and written

Always for a specific Audience

Frequently involves Jargons, graphics, etc

General message

Informal in style and approach

No set pattern

Mostly Oral

Not always for a specific audience

Does not involve the use of technical vocabulary or graphics, etc.

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