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Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

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Assessment of communicative modes used by engineering and built environment professionals

Jane English, Gabrielle Nudelman

Abstract


South African engineering and built environment professionals often present and need to transfer complex data to diverse recipients. This study of 91 respondents (via a Likert scale survey) explores communicative skills and formats used in their workplaces. Skills for seeking work (curriculum vitae, letters of application. networking through social media and interviews) was followed by analysis of technical writing to gain and keep work (proposals, reports and correspondence). Finally, the showcasing of work was reviewed via audience analysis, presentations and graphics, technical presentations, verbal and non-verbal delivery, visual literacy formats, integration of PowerPoint and posters. Conclusions were that the importance of the activity does not always align with the attention the practitioner gives it, nor the standard of output achieved. This disparity occurred particularly with citation and referencing, digital and traditional CVs, writing up proposals and responding to tender requests, and in creating and integrating visual material. However, there was alignment in the attention to and importance and standard of interviews, reports and summaries. It appears that emphasis must be on giving attention to the areas of communication which are deemed to be important but which currently are not of a high standard.



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