Explaining Hard Things to Humans: The Principles of Effective Technical Communication

Every technically minded person needs to know how to communicate technical knowledge clearly and effectively. This talk examines the fundamentals of “explaining hard things to humans,” including:

  • What makes technical communication uniquely difficult, and uniquely important.
  • Avoiding two major impediments to technical communication: arrogance (relating to gaps in knowledge as a hassle or irritation) and breeziness (attempting to ignore gaps in knowledge altogether).
  • How and why to make technical communication both audience-aware and strategic: tailored to both the knowledge level of the audience and the goal of the communication.
  • The value of analogies in technical communication.
  • Principles of clear technical writing.

You’ll leave the talk better able to communicate what you know, and to diagnose and work with common failures in technical communication.