Inside this issue:
Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,
The holiday season is officially upon us, and I’m here to bring you good wishes for the new year! To kick those New Year resolutions off, read on to learn more about our January meeting or visit our Meetup page. (Hint: The topic is based off our survey results from you, dear readers!)
And while we look forward to the new year and all the exciting upcoming events for our chapter, Vice President Nick Ducharme takes a minute to recap our first three ground-breaking meetings of the 2018-19 year to celebrate our chapter’s successes while also, for me at least, psyching me up even more for this month’s meeting!
That’s all from me for now. I hope to see you at the meeting!
Catch you on the flip side,
Editor, Memo To Members
Writing a Winning Proposal
By: Nick Ducharme
Florida Chapter, STC
I hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season! For me, it’s strange to jump back into the thick of things after enjoying some days off. Nonetheless, it seems the time has come to recalibrate. J
To make this transition easier, STC Florida has decided to start 2019 off with a bang. We’ve picked yet another highly-requested topic category from our summer 2018 survey. Better yet, we’ve selected our very own Dan Voss to present about it for our January chapter meeting.
I’ve known Dan for a while now. He’s one of the most lively and motivated people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, and he has decades of experience with writing proposals—which is what his presentation will be all about.
Please click here and RSVP for “Writing a Winning Proposal: ‘Near Misses’ Only Count in Horseshoes and Nuclear War.” by Dan Voss. Official presentation and speaker descriptions are below. (I think these will give you a sense of his aforementioned liveliness!)
Promotion for Presentation, “Writing a Winning Proposal: ‘Near Misses’ Only Count in Horseshoes and Nuclear War.”
In this dynamic and entertaining presentation, 40-year aerospace proposal writer/manager and STC Fellow Dan Voss presents the basic principles of writing a successful proposal, along with a liberal dose of lurid proposal “war stories” from his long career at Lockheed Martin, where he participated on more than a hundred proposal teams that collectively won over $20 billion in contracts for the company.
Worry not, however, that the presentation is relevant only to fiercely competitive aerospace proposals. Originally presented to a graduate class in technical communication at Mercer University in 2014 and since presented at the University of Central Florida, this presentation focuses on basic principles that apply to a much broader range of proposals in which technical communication practitioners may become involved, including commercial proposals, grant proposals, and internal business proposals within corporations. It also applies to job placement and career development … resumes, portfolios, interviews, strategic career advancement … basically anything that involves “selling” a product or service … which may include YOU, as a technical communication student or practitioner.
The marketing principles presented also apply to scholarship applications, awards applications, even radio and internet contests—indeed, all of these are, at the core, “proposals.” The only proposal these principles can’t promote success on are marriage proposals. Dan is still working on that!
About the Speaker
Dan Voss is a “retired” but still active proposal specialist for Lockheed Martin who also provides industry training workshops in business and technical communication. An STC Fellow, Dan is recognized for his publications and presentations on diverse subjects at STC’s international conference and was the recipient of the STC President’s Award for his efforts on student outreach. With Lori Allen, he coauthored Ethics in Technical Communication: Shades of Gray, published in 1998—for which he became the only non-engineer to receive Lockheed Martin’s coveted Author-of-the-Year recognition. He has coauthored four research articles for STC’s Technical Communication as well as four articles for intercom. Dan and now-chapter-president Bethany Aguad, then a student at UCF, co-managed STC International’s student outreach and mentoring initiative from 2012 through 2014 and presented at Leadership Day at two international STC conferences. They also coauthored Chapter 5, “Teaching the Ethics of Intercultural Communication,” in an acclaimed anthology of research articles Teaching and Training for Global Engineering, edited by Kirk St.Amant and Madelyn Flammia and published in 2017.
By: Nick Ducharme
Florida Chapter, STC
“STC Florida Seeking Virtual Panelist!” was the subject line of one of our email blasts complete with a megaphone emoji and all.
Something really cool was about to occur, which was saying something. I mean, this was going to be our third presentation of the year after we’d already had two total knockout presentations to start off the chapter year! In total, we had:
All of these meetings were revolutionary for our chapter, thanks in part to some minor tweaks in our virtual technology and in-person networking spaces—as well as enhanced focus on the experiences of virtual attendees. We began to designate an online moderator for each meeting, which helped us seamlessly incorporate the lively chat box discussion into all audience feedback and Q&A activities. Plus, all meeting topics this past year were selected based on feedback from this summer’s chapter survey, because your voice matters to us!
In Kirk’s August presentation, he balanced compelling cognitive science about cognitive load and sequencing with down-to-earth examples about the way we remember tasks in our day-to-day lives. (I will never look at a stop sign quite the same way again.)
In Todd’s September presentation, he took a methodical approach to the topic of virtual teams by first addressing some of the challenges that can arise (such as lower visibility and less clearly defined responsibilities). Then he tackled how we can address these challenges, which resulted in some lively Q&A from the audience. I had the pleasure of serving as online moderator, and I sincerely appreciate the high level of activity we had in the chat box!
The August and September presentations were hard acts to follow. To keep our quality standards just as high in October, we decided to continue making chapter history.
A mixed-media panel discussion. It was an ambitious goal that we had never previously attempted. We had our four in-person panelists already locked in, and we technically could have stopped there. Instead, we made the call to reach out for volunteers who would like to serve as a virtual panelist.
The response was overwhelming, and thus overjoying. Every response to our prompt was a wonderful read. We couldn’t pick just one virtual panelist in the end, so we ended up with two.
I led the panel discussion from the on-site location while Bethany Aguad moderated the chat. Topics of discussion included dealing with intimidation, working with subject matter experts who don’t take well to criticism, effective cross-cultural communication with subject matter experts, and more.