Inside this issue:
Hello everyone! Another month, another issue!
I want to share with you the upcoming “Live Web Seminars” available through November and into the beginning of December.
Benefits: No travel time; Pay per site and not per person; Train without leaving the office
Cost: Members $59 each; Not Yet Members $149 each; Student Member $29 each. Note: Cost is transferable but is not refundable. Registration closes the day prior to each webinar. Please add firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book to ensure receipt of registration emails.
Thursday, 14 November | 4:00–5:00 PM EST (GMT-5)
With the changes in technology, finding information isn’t just about search and perusing an index anymore. Interface navigation and navigational cues, such as button design and icons, also affect the ease of which users can find information. This presentation covers the challenges and ways technical communicators can ease the pain.
Kees van Mansom
Tuesday, 19 November | 10:00–11:00 AM EST (GMT-5 )
For most product manufacturers, delivering adequate documentation is a constant challenge. The increasing complexity of products and the stricter regulations for product documentation often lead to extensive documentation sets with 500+ pages manuals online or in print. The question is: how effective is all this documentation?
Thursday, 21 November | 4:00–5:00 PM EST (GMT-5 )
For most product manufacturers, delivering adequate documentation is a constant challenge. The increasing complexity of products and the stricter regulations for product documentation often lead to extensive documentation sets with 500+ pages manuals online or in print. The question is: how effective is all this documentation? This presentation gives an overview of what targeted documentation is, how to create or convert to targeted documentation libraries, and how it can help improve the overall user experience and reduce costs.
Tuesday, 3 December | 10:00–11:00 AM EST (GMT-5)
In this webinar, user research expert Cory Lebson will introduce attendees to a number of tools and techniques for conducting qualitative user research to assess Web content.In this webinar, user research expert Cory Lebson will introduce attendees to a number of tools and techniques for conducting qualitative user research to improve your Web content. Find out when and why you should conduct focus groups to assess a Web strategy. Learn how you can better understand your users with ethnographic research or interviews and test your assumptions with a usability study. Assess the organization of content with a card sort. And consider the best ways to get stakeholder buy-in for your research initiatives.
Wednesday, 4 December | 1:00–2:00 PM EST (GMT-5)
Often because of interface limitations, search is the only means you have available to allow users to find information. To help generate more relevant results, you can incorporate index entries into metadata. In this webinar, Cheryl Landes will provide an overview of what metadata is and share tips on how to include index entries in metadata.
Thursday, 5 December | 4:00–5:00 PM EST (GMT-5)
Companies that successfully integrate translation into the product-development process reap the financial benefits of simultaneous global releases, high-quality products that meet the needs of all their customers, and improved perception of customer service. Such integration also requires the localization vendor to take a long-term view toward its client relationships because, while integration results in short-term loss of revenue on a project, the overall budget for localization doesn’t typically go down. Rather, client companies use the savings to expand their localized offerings.
There are so many great topics that will be covered, so please take advantage of these seminars. There are certainly a lot for you to choose from or you could attend them all!
Editor, Memo 2 Members Newsletter
The President’s Corner
By Debra Johnson
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
By Sarah Baca
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
I will never forget attending my first Thanks Dinner with STC Orlando. I was a student at UCF, excited about my potential career and wanting to learn more about technical communication. I was in a room full of mostly strangers and I was trying very hard not to look like an idiot since one of them might be a future employer (if I could get a job when I graduated … what if I couldn’t?!).
Debra, our vice-president at the time, asked us to go around the room and say what we were grateful for. I thought, “These people have arrived! Surely they are grateful for their nice cars and houses, their trips to Aruba, their great jobs.” I am sure that there were many people there who were grateful for those things. But instead every single person there said that they were grateful for their family and the wonderful people in their lives. That experience reminded me about what is really important. It’s the people in our lives and our relationships with them.
For me, our STC chapter has helped me forge some of my very best friendships. I hope that is your experience too. If that’s not the case, let me know and I’ll introduce you to some folks! Either way, I hope that you will join us for this year’s Thanks Dinner at Culpepper’s Restaurant near UCF. We can’t wait to see you!
By Mary Burns
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
If you missed the last meeting…
Sometimes our greatest strengths can become weaknesses. We technical communicators “get” information quickly and run with it—often straight back to our workstations, where we spend long hours alone with our projects.
Many of us are introverts, modest about promoting our skillsets and reluctant to monopolize the floor in meetings.
These traits don’t always make for great teamwork.
An engaging presentation by Paul Mueller, “Leadership and Team Dynamics: Improving on Team Dynamics for a More Effective Team,” challenged us to better contribute to our teams and ultimately to our projects. The presentation was based on Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, each of which highlighted a leadership maxim.
Absence of trust. Out of fear, people are not honest about strengths, weaknesses, and mistakes. Trust improves when team members know each other’s work styles and schedules. Exercises like 5-minute “Who am I” presentations, or even those brief cube chats over coffee, build trust. A mock award for blunders can help take the sting out of making a mistake.
Leadership maxim: Don’t take yourself so seriously—no one knows it all; everyone makes mistakes.
Fear of conflict. People on a team agree in “artificial harmony.” Without honest disagreement, there’s no passion. Some aids to healthy conflict are to focus on critiquing ideas, not people, and to avoid participating in “back-door” dissent.
Leadership maxims: Listen for at least four minutes without interrupting. Give everyone an A (don’t hold past perceptions against them).
Lack of commitment. People give little time and passion to decisions they haven’t agreed to. There are three kinds of decision type: tell, sell, or test. (The difference, as Paul memorably demonstrated, is “Leave.”; “Leave—the room’s on fire!”; or “I think we should leave the burning room. What do you think?”.) Decision-makers can’t always choose the decision type, but they can ensure that all viewpoints are heard.
Leadership maxim: There’s always more than one right answer. Listen to others’ perspectives and support alternative solutions.
Avoidance of accountability. People don’t hold others or themselves to their commitments. What helps here is to have clear job criteria and to focus on whether it’s being met. Team members should respectfully remind each other of commitments and also encourage each other to make realistic commitments: “Maybe doing that in three days is too ambitious.”
Leadership maxim: Provide a “tent”—invite others into your office or cube to discuss actions.
Inattention to results. Focused on individual growth and needs, people ignore whether team goals were met and put a positive spin on what was actually achieved. Team results improve when the results are measured against clear objectives, failures are honestly assessed and learned from, and successes are celebrated by the team.
Leadership maxim: Provide the “north star,” so that everyone knows the goals and direction.
An animated speaker, Paul illustrated his points with anecdotes from his long experience in technical communication, and drew stories of bloopers and triumphs from us too.
It was an evening that made me excited to belong to Team STC!