Unlike other types of writing, technical communication — the type of writing you will do in this class and in your professional life — should satisfy the audience’s need for information, not the writer’s own need for self expression.
Since we are satisfying someone else’s needs and not our own, it’s imperative we understand how to properly communicate with others, which means paying close attention to the rhetorical situation
, which includes audience, genre, and purpose. This means we need to consider how and for whom we compose our words and the tone/syntax we choose to use in the medium we are writing.
For example, imagine sitting in your car at a red light and then getting rear-ended. The way you communicate with the driver of the car that hit you may use a certain tone and certain words that would be different from the tone and words you’d use to communicate what happened to the police officer who shows up at the scene. And later that same day, when you relay what happened to a friend, the way you communicate will, again, most likely change — in terms of your tone, syntax, even what details you decide to include (or omit).
To complete this assignment, choose a scenario like the one mentioned above to write about (this scenario can be real or imagined). For example, an argument you’ve recently had or a party you went to. Then, write two (2) separate paragraphs (minimum 100 words each). In the first paragraph, explain the incident as if you were talking to your best friend. In the second, explain the same incident as if you were talking to a professional acquaintance, like a doctor or teacher.
When you’re finished composing the aforementioned paragraphs, write a 200-250 word memo to your instructor reflecting on this exercise. What has it taught you about the rhetorical situation and audience consideration? How did your tone and content change or stay the same based on who your target audience was? How will you apply these lessons to future writings?