Presented by

  • Lana Brindley

    Lana Brindley
    @Loquacities
    http://lanabrindley.com

    Lana Brindley got eaten by a grue in the late 80s, and hasn't been quite the same since. More recently, she's been hanging around in the open source community, and generally making a pest of herself. She lives and breathes technical documentation, information architecture, and agile docs, and is perpetually in pursuit of the perfect piece of content. She hasn't found it yet. In the meantime, she enjoys going to technical conferences to talk about stuff that has been buzzing around in her brain for too long, and also to make sure she leaves the house from time to time. She is currently writing documentation for SUSE, and is hoping to get it finished before the robot overlords take over.

Abstract

There's a writing style people use when they want to sound smarter. It goes something like this: We're using iterative approaches to corporate strategy to foster collaborative thinking and further the overall value proposition. Depending on which reading test you use, you need to have a grade 20 equivalent reading age to be able to understand that sentence. Many doctoral candidates haven't even been to school for twenty years. So why do we write like this? There is some evidence (yes, actual scientifically sound, peer-reviewed evidence), that indicates that people who show signs of power are treated in a way that allows them to actually achieve such power. In other words, 'fake it til you make it' is an actual, scientifically proven way to get what you want. But, if you're writing technical documentation, or an email to your boss, it's more important that you're seen as being honest rather than powerful. It would be nice to think that people will read your writing and think "wow, what a clever writer that Lana Brindley is! She knows lots of fancy words, and I think I'd like to be her friend". Sadly, if your writing is full of jargon, they're more likely to think "what a silly twit" and go read something else. In this talk, Lana will go through some of the ways you can make your writing clearer, more engaging, and honest, without using too many big words.