Many of us struggle to get the technical professionals on our team to be enthusiastic about writing. We beg, plead and bribe to encourage them to aid in the proposal process and often are met with considerable resistance, procrastination or outright contempt. If this is your experience, take a moment to walk in their shoes.
Writing is often very challenging for a technical professional. They most likely weren’t asked to write very much as a part of their education and training, and they have probably done very little writing since completing their education. So what do you do when you have a deadline and you need technical know how? You interview!
When preparing proposals, editorial content or marketing materials, do yourself a favor and conduct brief interviews with your technical staff to get the information you need.
1. Plan carefully so that you know which questions you will need to ask.
2. Schedule a set time and provide the questions well ahead of time so that your subject can prepare.
3. Be on time to your appointment. This shows you respect their time and they will appreciate you as a professional.
4. Listen and take detailed notes so you get everything you need the first time. Taking notes on your computer and recording the interview will help you capture every morsel of knowledge they have to offer.
5. Write a draft and ask for your subjects’ feedback until you reach a final document that is both concise, engaging and technically accurate.
If you follow these five tips, you will become a valuable resource to your firm. Few A/E/C marketers can conduct a technical interview, gain the needed information and write a high-quality proposal, article or white paper for publication. When you become one of the few, you will gain respect and thanks from your colleagues for removing such a daunting and time consuming task from their to do list.