Technical Communication in Engineering

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English1Hugh Smith is an Electrical Engineer that works for a telecommunications company. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Louisiana Tech University. With 20 years of work experience with communication technology, hopefully he can shed some light on the communication process in this “niche service” of electrical engineering.

 

Communicating with Customers

A website that is easy to use and understand plays a big role for bringing in new business. Hugh says, “our customers continually say that our company’s website is better than most.” A website isn’t the only way or even the best way to bring in new customers. According to Hugh, “my company mainly relies on referrals and recommendation from satisfied customers to bring in more business.” In engineering, like any field, communication is vital to maintain good business and also for bringing in new clients. This is especially true when new customers see a business for the first time.

 

Communicating with New Employees

When joining a company, how well you understand your role in the company can greatly affect how well you do. It can also affect whether or not you choose to stay at the company. At Hugh’s company new employees are given a detailed company orientation. Written and verbal communication is used to inform all incoming employees about the products the company produces, the team they’ll be working on, the work they are responsible for, and expectations for success. They have over a week to train. This includes specific job training as well as learning the company’s mission statement, its health and safety standards, and code-of-ethics.

 

Language Barriers

Misunderstandings can hinder efficiency in any system. Hugh’s company employs over 7000 people worldwide. His company’s policy for the US “requires that all foreign employees who interact with US employees must speak English as a primary or secondary language”, and they hire translators for international customers.

 

Communication in the Workplace

Effective communication in the workplace helps to ensure that projects are finished on time, and it helps keep everyone up to date with policies or other company changes. Hugh has official face-to-face meeting like in most companies, but prefers other forms of Englishcommunication. He thinks that meeting and presentations have their place in communicating information, but using unofficial
communication, like email, would be more efficient most of the time. Hugh says, “A lot of time is put into preparing presentations to be shared at a meeting, which could have simply been shared and discussed online instead.” He believes that meetings should have a specific and limited topic in and be brief so that there is more time to focus on completing projects.

Hugh’s company uses email every day. It is the most convenient way to schedule meetings, send out company literature, or update all employees at the same time. One of the reasons Hugh prefers online communication like email or instant messaging is because you have a record of what was said. If anything is forgotten or specific information is given about a project, having access to exact words can be useful. Because of the increasing capabilities that smart phones have, they are becoming an important tool for most businesses. They give the ability to text small amounts of information quickly and conveniently, or you can check your email if you are away from your desk.

 

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