Changing Stereotypes: Engineers Can (and Need to) Communicate

Engineers and communication do not mix: this notion remains commonplace among engineers themselves, as well as part of the stereotype of “the engineer” that is pervasive in the public eye. This is despite the fact that communication is now seen to be pivotal to key engineering tasks, such as analysis, problem solving, and design, and in most of the engineering profession. But do the next generation of engineers still understand themselves and their profession in this way? In their upcoming presentation at ProComm 2019 in Aachen, Germany, Anneliese Watt, Kayla Maxey, Patricia Brackin and Jordan Trachtenberg of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology tackle this question through a surveys given to 168 engineering students. 

Their initial results dispute the notion that engineers see communication as something to avoid or as a peripheral skill. Students indicated that they expected to communicate frequently, and that communication would be an important aspect of their jobs.  When asked whether communication skills would be important to their career success as an engineer, a large majority (94%) either agreed or strongly agreed.  [Continue reading]

Using Data AND Story to Persuade Readers

For a technical audience of engineers, quantiative data often holds the key to persuasion. For more general audiences, however, narrative or storytelling has been shown to potentially hold greater sway. In addition, the effectiveness of both … [Continue reading]

Lecturer Position in Professional Writing at the University of California, Davis

The UC Davis University Writing Program invites applications for full-time lecturers to teach advanced undergraduate courses in professional writing. We especially anticipate needs in writing for engineering, writing for business, technical writing, … [Continue reading]

Think like your audience for better, more effective communication

One of the cardinal sins in professional communication is to focus on what you want to say, rather than what your audience needs to hear. A poet or a novelist may have the privilege of their audiences wanting to hear what they have to say, but if … [Continue reading]

Special Issue on Plain Language Wins Best Collection of Original Essays 2019 from 4Cs

The IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication Special Issue on Plain Language has been chosen for the CCCC award for (Council on College Composition and Communication) Best Collection of Original Essays in Scientific and Technical … [Continue reading]

Listening as Engineering Communication

When we talk about “professional” or “engineering” communication, we almost exclusively focus on the skills required to deliver our intended messages to others. Even on this site, we almost exclusively focus on tips, skills, and techniques around … [Continue reading]

Tell your Story: Understanding Narrative to Engage Audiences

One of the most frequent things we hear from audiences - both of reports and presentations - who fail to engage with and understand the content being communicated is: “What’s the story?” It may seem like an odd request, since engineering … [Continue reading]

Making the Unfamiliar Familiar: Metaphors as a Strategy for Clarifying Technical and Scientific Concepts

For the engineers that I have taught, one of the most challenging communication tasks is explaining scientific concepts to less technical audiences, such as the general public. Yet explaining their work to the public – and other audiences with … [Continue reading]

Revised IEEE ProComm Constitution and Bylaws

Season's greetings everyone! Just a quick note that our constitution and bylaws have been revised, approved by the Board of Governors, and approved by the Vice President of Technical Activities for the IEEE on December 20th, 2018. These documents, … [Continue reading]

A Survey on Patent Courses in Bachelor Degrees of Science and Engineering

IEEE Education Society Sr Past President Manuel Castro is conducting a survey about introducing new Patent Courses in Bachelor Degrees of Science and Engineering. Please contribute to the survey by visiting: … [Continue reading]