Technical Writing Tip – The Outside-In Approach to Technical Writing

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Written by John Lafferty

John Lafferty, Northridge Quality and Validation
Read time: 2 minutes

Don’t write about what you know; write about what the reader needs to know.

The Outside-In approach is the technique of writing the document from the reader’s point of view rather than your own. In order to do this, we must first analyse the audience.

Analysing the audience will allow you to determine the key message of the document and what you need to communicate in order to make the message understood. When using the Outside-In technique you must begin with the general and move to the specific; make sure that the most important information in each section or paragraph appears first rather than last. This will mean that the document will be more readable and more easily understood.
The Outside-In technique can be summarised in the following five steps; 1. Determine the key message.  2. Decide what you need to communicate to make the message understood.  3. Give the big picture first.  4. Start with the most important information.  5. Let the detail follow.
The actions you want the reader to take when they have read your document should foremost in your mind when writing the document.

Technical Writing Skills Training Course

Northridge Quality & Validation and our training partners, SQT Training are running a comprehensive training course on Technical Writing Skills. Note: This course will be delivered via a Virtual Classroom (not in person).
Course Title: Technical Writing Skills

Course Content
: Our structured, practical programme will help you to identify the key message you need to deliver in your written document and to deliver it clearly and concisely in a way that will ensure it is understood.

John Lafferty – Course Tutor

John Lafferty is the Technical Writing Skills course tutor at SQT Training Ltd. John also delivers courses in Quality Systems, Process Validation, Software Validation and Quality Risk Management on behalf of SQT. John runs a highly successful Quality Management Consultancy, Northridge Quality & Validation, which specialises in assisting companies in the Life Sciences manufacturing sector.

technical writing online virtual course