10 Techniques for Better Technical Composition
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Adopt clear and concise language
  2. Avoid technical jargon
  3. Use active voice
  4. Structure your writing
  5. Focus on your reader
  6. Revise your work
  7. Use visual aids
  8. Be consistent
  9. Explain abbreviations and acronyms
  10. Proofread your work

Have you ever found yourself stumped on how to improve composition in technical writing? If so, you're not alone. Many technical professionals struggle with this, but fear not! This blog outlines 10 practical techniques that can help to enhance your technical composition skills. The best part? They're simple, easy to implement, and will make your writing clearer, more engaging, and more effective. So, let's get started!

Adopt Clear and Concise Language

First on our list is possibly the most impactful technique: adopting a clear and concise language. It's all about saying more with less—distilling complex ideas into simple, understandable terms. This not only helps your readers to grasp the concepts faster but also makes your composition more accessible to a broader audience.

  • Choose simple words over complex ones: Instead of using a labyrinth of words like "utilization" or "in conjunction with," go for the simpler "use" or "with." Remember, you're aiming for clarity, not a vocabulary contest.
  • Be direct and precise: Avoid beating around the bush. If you're explaining how a software works, get straight to the point. For example, instead of saying "The software allows the user to execute various tasks," say "You can use the software to edit photos, schedule appointments, and send emails."
  • Eliminate unnecessary words: Every word should serve a purpose. If a word or phrase doesn't add value or clarify a point, cut it out. For instance, instead of writing "In order to improve composition in technical writing," simply say "To improve technical composition."

Embracing clear and concise language can drastically improve your technical composition. It not only makes your writing easier to understand, but it also gives it a professional and polished feel. So, the next time you sit down to write, remember: less is more!

Avoid Technical Jargon

Technical jargon can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can help to express complex ideas succinctly. On the other hand, it can also create a barrier between you and your readers—especially if they're not familiar with the terminology. That's why it's important to tread carefully when it comes to jargon.

  • Use terms that your audience understands: If you're writing for a non-technical audience, try to avoid jargon altogether. Instead, use everyday language that your readers can easily understand. For instance, instead of saying "The algorithm is executed," you could say "The program runs the steps."
  • Explain unfamiliar terms: If you can't avoid using jargon, be sure to explain it when you first introduce it. For example, if you're talking about APIs, you might say something like "APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces, are sets of rules that allow different software applications to communicate with each other."
  • Don't overuse acronyms: Acronyms can be useful shorthand, but they can also be confusing if you use too many of them. If you must use an acronym, make sure to spell out what it stands for the first time you use it.

By avoiding technical jargon—or at least explaining it—you can ensure that your writing is accessible to a wide range of readers. This can be particularly useful when you're trying to explain complex technical concepts to non-technical audiences. So, when you're working on improving your technical composition, remember: clarity is key!

Use Active Voice

One simple, yet effective technique to improve your technical composition is using active voice. It makes your writing more direct, clear, and concise, enhancing the overall clarity of your message.

But what does it mean to use active voice? Let's break it down:

  • Active Voice: In active sentences, the subject of the sentence is doing the action. For example, "The engineer designs the bridge". Here, the engineer (the subject) is actively doing the designing (the action).
  • Passive Voice: In passive sentences, the subject of the sentence is receiving the action. For example, "The bridge is designed by the engineer." In this case, the bridge (the subject) is receiving the action of being designed.

Active voice is typically more engaging and easier to read. It helps your reader understand who is doing what, and it can make your writing feel more immediate and personal. Plus, active sentences are usually shorter than passive ones, which can make your writing more concise.

So, next time you're working on a technical document and you're wondering how to improve composition, remember: active voice can be your friend. It can help you create clear, direct, and engaging writing that your readers will appreciate.

Structure Your Writing

Structuring your writing is another effective method for improving your technical composition. A well-structured piece of writing is like a well-built house — it's sturdy, it flows, and it makes sense to anyone who enters.

When you structure your writing, you create a roadmap that guides your readers through your text. This roadmap helps your readers understand where they are, where they're going, and how they're going to get there.

Here's a simple three-step process to follow:

  1. Create an Outline: An outline is like a blueprint for your writing. It helps you organize your thoughts, identify key points, and arrange those points in a logical order. You don't have to stick to it rigidly, but it provides a guide as you write.
  2. Use Headings and Subheadings: Headings and subheadings are like signposts on a road. They tell your readers what to expect in the upcoming section. They also break up your text, making it more readable and easy to follow.
  3. Write in Paragraphs: Each paragraph should focus on one idea or point. This makes your writing easy to digest. Start with a topic sentence that introduces the idea, then provide supporting details and wrap up with a conclusion or transition to the next idea.

So, next time you're wondering how to improve composition in technical writing, remember to structure your writing. It will not only make your writing clearer and more organized, but also more engaging for your readers.

Focus on Your Reader

One of the key techniques to improve composition in technical writing is to keep your reader front and center. Remember, you're not just writing for yourself or to show off your technical prowess. You're writing to communicate complex ideas in a way that your reader can understand and appreciate.

So, who is your reader? What do they already know about the topic? What do they want to learn? What queries might they have? Understanding your reader's perspective can make a world of difference in how you present your information.

Here are few ways you can make your writing more reader-focused:

  1. Use Language They Understand: If your reader isn't a technical expert, avoid using too much jargon or overly complicated terms. Explain things in a way that a sixth grader would understand.
  2. Answer Their Questions: Think about the questions your reader might have and make sure you answer them. This can make your writing more engaging and valuable.
  3. Make It Relevant: Connect the technical information you're presenting to real-world applications or problems. This helps to show your reader why the information is important and how it can be useful to them.

By focusing on your reader, you can create technical compositions that not only educate, but also engage and inspire. And that's a powerful way to improve your technical writing skills.

Revise Your Work

After you've poured your thoughts onto the page, it's time to revisit and refine them. This is where the magic truly happens. Revising your work is a vital step in improving your technical composition.

Many of us might be tempted to hit 'send' or 'publish' as soon as we finish writing. But hold on! Even the most experienced writers know that their first drafts are rarely their best. Revising gives you a chance to spot and fix weak spots, clear up any confusion, and make your message as clear and compelling as possible.

Here are some strategies to help you revise effectively:

  1. Take a Break: After you finish writing, take a little break before you start revising. This can help you see your work with fresh eyes and spot errors or unclear sections more easily.
  2. Read Aloud: When you read your work aloud, you can often hear problems that you might not see when you read silently. This includes awkward phrases, run-on sentences, or areas where you might lose your breath — a sign that your sentence is probably too long.
  3. Check for Clarity and Consistency: Make sure your message is clear and your tone is consistent throughout your piece. If something can be interpreted in multiple ways, it's probably not clear enough.

Remember, writing is a process, and revision is a crucial part of that process. It's not about making your writing perfect—it's about making it better. So, don't rush through it. Take your time, be thorough, and your technical composition skills will surely improve.

Use Visual Aids

Let's face it, no matter how interesting your topic is, a big wall of text can be intimidating, even for the most enthusiastic readers. This is where visual aids come into play. They not only break up the text, making it easier to read, but also help explain complex ideas in a simple way. So, how can visual aids help you improve your technical composition?

Well, imagine you're trying to explain a complex process or a set of data. You could write a lengthy description, hoping your readers can follow along. Or, you could include a diagram, chart, or infographic that shows them exactly what you're talking about. Which do you think they'd prefer?

Here are a few types of visual aids you might consider, along with some tips on when to use them:

  1. Diagrams: These are great for explaining processes or showing how something works. For example, if you're writing about how a computer chip is manufactured, a step-by-step diagram could be very helpful.
  2. Charts and Graphs: If you're working with data, a chart or graph can often present that data more clearly and concisely than words alone.
  3. Infographics: These are excellent tools for presenting a lot of information in an easy-to-understand format. They're especially useful when you want to show relationships or patterns.

Remember, the goal of using visual aids is to make your writing more clear, not more complicated. So, keep them simple, relevant, and always remember to explain them in your text. With the right visual aids, your technical composition will not only be more engaging but also more effective.

Be Consistent

Consistency in technical composition isn’t just about writing style or tone—it’s like a compass guiding your readers through your content. So, how can consistency enhance your technical composition? Let's explore.

When you're consistent, your readers aren't left guessing about what you mean. They can focus on the content, not the way it's presented. For instance, if you choose to write out numbers less than ten, stick with that rule throughout your piece. If you start with an American English spelling, don't switch to British English halfway through. Even small inconsistencies can distract your readers and make your writing seem less professional.

Here are some areas where you should aim for consistency:

  1. Terminology: If you refer to a concept as 'efficiency' in one paragraph, don't call it 'productivity' in the next. Choose one term and stick to it.
  2. Formatting: If you're using bullet points or numbered lists, keep the format the same throughout. The same goes for headings, subheadings, and text styles.
  3. Voice and Tense: If you start in the active voice and present tense, maintain it throughout your piece. Switching between voices and tenses can confuse your readers.

As you can see, consistency is not just about following a set of rules, but about creating a smooth, seamless reading experience. It's about making sure your reader can focus on what's most important: the ideas and information you're sharing. So next time you sit down to write, remember, consistency is key!

Explain Abbreviations and Acronyms

Imagine you're reading a technical document and you come across an acronym or abbreviation you don't understand—it could feel like trying to understand a foreign language, right? That's why when we ask how to improve composition in technical writing, a simple but often overlooked technique is to explain abbreviations and acronyms when you first use them.

Just think about it. If you casually drop an acronym like "API" or "CPU" into your text without any explanation, you risk leaving some of your readers in the dark. And that's not what we want! We want our readers to feel enlightened, not confused.

Here's a simple rule to go by: The first time you introduce an acronym or abbreviation, spell it out in full and provide the short form in parentheses right after. For example, "The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the brain of the computer."

But what if you're dealing with a really common acronym? Do you still need to explain it? Well, it's better to be safe than sorry. If there's a chance that even a small fraction of your readers won't understand, it's worth taking a few extra seconds to explain.

By explaining abbreviations and acronyms, you're not just making your writing more accessible, you're also making it more inclusive. And when your readers feel included, they're more likely to stick around and keep reading. So, let's remember—no acronym left behind!

Proofread Your Work

Ever baked a cake and forgot to add sugar? Or left your house with mismatched socks? Minor errors, sure, but they can make a world of difference! Just like these everyday oversights, even small mistakes in technical writing can distract your readers and impact the message you're trying to convey. So, how to improve composition in technical writing? One word—proofread!

Proofreading is like the quality check in a manufacturing process. It's where you spot and correct errors before your writing goes out into the world. And trust me, there's nothing like the satisfaction of knowing that your document is error-free and ready to impress.

While proofreading, pay special attention to grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Did you use the correct form of 'their', 'they're', and 'there'? Did you end your sentences with the right punctuation? Is everything spelled correctly? If you're unsure, you can always use a tool like Grammarly or Microsoft Word's built-in spell checker.

Also, look out for consistency in your writing. If you've used American English in one part of the document, make sure you haven't switched to British English in another. If you've used a certain abbreviation, make sure you've used it consistently throughout your text.

Proofreading might seem tedious, especially after you've spent hours or even days writing. But believe me, it's worth it. After all, you've put so much effort into your writing, why not give it the final polish it deserves?

Remember, error-free writing is not just about aesthetics—it's about respect for your readers. By proofreading your work, you're showing your readers that you value their time and attention. And that, my friend, is a surefire way to improve composition in technical writing!

If you enjoyed learning about techniques for better technical composition and want to expand your photography skills even further, don't miss the workshop 'Tips To Compose More Compelling Photos' by Austin James Jackson. This workshop will provide you with valuable insights and tips to help you master the art of composing stunning and visually impactful photographs.