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Subject:Value of Techwriters From:Herman Holtz <holtz -at- PALTECH -dot- COM> Date:Tue, 30 May 1995 15:46:14 -0400
For all who have considered how to explain to a skeptic the value of tech
writing and tech writers, may I suggest that we apply a bit of simple and
most basic marketing principles to the problem: Those principles sould tell
us immediately that no amount of logic will persuade, convert, or even
influence a skeptic. (Remember, if you will, the wisdom that says that
anyone convinced against his will remains unconvinced still.) Logical
argument, against a biased miond, tends to polarize positions and arouse a
great deal of hostility: The more irrefutable the logic, the more intense
The point is that logic rarely, if ever persuades anyone, and never
persuades one who is already biased. What is required to do the job, if it
can, indeed be done at all, is an emotional appeal. In this case, I suggest
explaining to that engineer that the true value of a technical writer is the
sparing of that engineer's valuable time so that he can devote it to the far
more demanding and more important task of engineering. That is a persuasive
I went through this almost identical problem many years ago, in the salad
days of defense projects, and I used the above method with great
success--with surprisingly swift success, I might add.
Herman Holtz [holtz -at- paltech -dot- com] Marketing consultant, general and
technical writing services. Author 60+ books, including best-
selling How to Succeed as an Independent Consultant (John Wiley).
PO Box 1731, Wheaton, MD 20915. 301-649-2499; fax: 301-649-5745