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Technical Writing in the Trump Era

10th April 2017 Posted in Blog, Writing 0 Comments

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Guest post by Gill Kohn

Happy New Year Charlie Brown from Mar-A-Lago

Welcome to Donald Trump’s America! It’s not exactly Norman Rockwell, some might say more like Andy Warhol. Nothing is as it looks, cinema verite’ with a twist: often appearing larger than life and then distorted for full effect. As the Federal courts argue the constitutionality of President Trump’s recent landmark executive order on immigration, we can begin to see the attention being paid to drafting and control over official documents under the current administration. Words must matter to now President Trump, as with the original response from the White House referring to the temporary restraining order from the Ninth Circuit presiding over Washington State as “outrageous”. This response was immediately walked back and the word “outrageous” omitted. However, his characterization of U.S District Court Senior Judge James Robart as a “so-called judge” was left in place, much to the dismay of several of his closest advisors. The good news, not “fake news” for President Trump, is that (more…)

Improving Your Own Professional Visibility

16th December 2015 Posted in Blog, Career Development 0 Comments

Image for Professional Visibility PostDo you need a boost for your learning and development efforts— well-deserved positive visibility for your achievements? Are you unsure how to go about it in a graceful way that won’t come across as raw ambition or irritating egotism?

In her article, Gaining Visibility Gracefully for Your Professional Efforts, Sue Plaster provides six ways to build on your existing profession reputation and make sure that when credit is given, you get your fair share. She provides insight and examples on how you can promote yourself gracefully and productively to gain professional visibility in your career.

Read Gaining Visibility Gracefully for Your Professional Efforts and then leave a comment here with your thoughts. Have you taken a different approach to improving your professional visibility, or have you been afraid of sounding your own horn?

Shining a Spotlight on Your Training Team

Image for Spotlight on Your Training Team PostThose in a learning and development capacity play an important role in the success of their organization and they see the results every day. Sometimes a boost of internal or external recognition can add momentum to the team’s efforts, and can provide individuals the inspiration needed to keep achieving.

In her article, Using Recognition to Inspire Your Training Team, Sue Plaster, M.ED. provides a wealth of advice on gaining more recognition for your team’s achievements and contributions as well as those of your team members. She offers factors to be considered for gaining additional recognition and provides insight on exploring award and recognition opportunities through a variety of outlets.

Read Using Recognition to Inspire Your Training Team and then leave a comment here with your thoughts. What steps do you take to inspire your training team and put them in the spotlight? 

Teaching a Diverse Audience

19th November 2015 Posted in Blog, Training & Development 0 Comments

Image for Teaching a Diverse Audience PostTeaching in a multiple culture/multiple language classroom is the new reality.  It offers some unique challenges but is not impossible. The burden is on the instructor to create a classroom culture that is conducive to learning.  

In his article, The Global Classroom, Lester L. Stepheson, explains that success begins with the course introduction.  The introduction sets the tone for the entire class. A little more time getting to know each other at the beginning creates an atmosphere that unifies the class and promotes learning. A warm and friendly introduction where the teacher gets to know the students and vice versa goes a long way to overcoming disparities in culture and language.

In the article, Stephenson provides more ideas and tips on how to adapt teaching styles for students with culture and language differences from all over the world.

Read The Global Classroom and then leave a comment here with your thoughts. Have you encountered similar challenges in the classrom? How do you handle them?

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Technical Writers and Specific Software Skills

22nd October 2015 Posted in Blog, Hiring Writers, Technical Writers 2 Comments

Being a technical writer requires a variety of skills, including great writing skills, strong technical skills in other areas, good interviewing and listening skills, and good people, time management, and project management skills. But some great tech writers lack experience with specific software that hiring companies may use in every day production. When adding a technical writer to your team, how strongly should you insist that a candidate have experience with specific software?

The article How Important are Specific Software Skills for a Technical Writer gives some insight on how important it is for a technical writer to learn a specific software tool and also discusses the dilemma hiring managers may face when choosing between a technical writer who has experience with specific software but hasn’t quite mastered it, or someone who lacks the experience but is eager to learn.

Read How Important are Specific Software Skills for a Technical Writer? and then leave a comment here with your thoughts. If you were faced with the choice, would you rather hire the writer who has specific software experience or a different candidate with perhaps better writing and people skills who is willing to learn the software?

Managing Virtual Teams is All About Communication

7th October 2015 Posted in Blog, Communication, Management 0 Comments

Image for Managing Virtual Teams is All About Communication PostIt is a challenge for a company when virtual team members are thousands of miles apart, so to ensure the consistency and quality of any product or deliverable, it is imperative that teams are able to communicate throughout a project – especially when teams include non-employees.

In her article, Saving Money with Virtual Teams and Working at a Distance Without Travel, Barbara Stuhlemmer, identifies some of the tools she has used to bring contractors, writers, and clients on projects together, including tools for:

  • Conferencing
  • Presenting
  • Collaboration

She provides insight on how various tools in each of these categories can help in managing project communications.

Read Saving Money with Virtual Teams and Working at a Distance Without Travel and then leave a comment here with your thoughts. Are you using some of these tools in your company? Have you found others that have been effective for you in managing virtual teams? 

Choosing the Right Outsourcing Recruiter

23rd September 2015 Posted in Blog, Company, Hiring 0 Comments

Image for Choosing the Right Outsourcing Recruiter PostNowadays, many companies are outsourcing their recruiting needs, rather than having a special recruiting department or making recruiting the task of human resources. Finding the right outsourcing recruiter is not that easy. It takes time to find the right one that your company needs.

In her article, How to Pick the Right Recruiter, Meredith McGhan, provides four questions you need to ask to find the right recruiter to meet your hiring needs.

  1. What is the recruiter’s specialty?
  2. What is the recruiter’s experience level?
  3. How well do you and the recruiter communicate?
  4. How is the recruiter progressing in finding candidates?

She explains how answering these questions can help you in choosing the right recruiter to find the right people for the position who will help in your company’s success.

Read How to Pick the Right Recruiter and then leave a comment here with your thoughts. Are you taking any extra steps to find the right recruiter?

What Technical Writers Bring to the Table

10th September 2015 Posted in Blog, Technical Writers 0 Comments

Image for What Technical Writers Bring to the Table PostA few years back, when the original source article was written, Wikipedia defined technical writers as “Professional writers who design, create, maintain and update many types of technical documentation, online help, user guides, white papers, design specifications, and other documents.” Since then, the information on the technical writing profession provided through Wikipedia has evolved, much like the profession itself has evolved. We especially enjoy the quote from Kurt Vonnegut, which describes technical writers as:

“..trained to reveal almost nothing about themselves in their writing. This makes them freaks in the world of writers, since almost all of the other ink-stained wretches in that world reveal a lot about themselves to the reader.”

As the task list for which technical writers assume responsibility grows, so does their value to the team. Our previously published article, “How Technical Writers Add Value to Your Team” provided some insight on how technical writers are trained and how they can enhance the usability and value of your products or services. But much has changed since then.

Read How Technical Writers Add Value to your Team and then leave a comment here with your thoughts. As the technical writing profession has evolved, how has the value to the team that tech writers bring to the table increased in your experience? 

Why Updated Documentation is Critical to Success

26th August 2015 Posted in Blog, Documentation 0 Comments

Third Image for Out of Date DocumentationDocumentation is very important to each customer but companies often see documentation as an afterthought, an add-on, or an extra that doesn’t bring in more revenue. As a result, updating product documentation doesn’t always get the priority it deserves.

In her article, How Out-of-Date Documentation Can Cost You, Your Brand and Your Company, Jacquie Samuels provides some insight on why treating documentation as an add-on or an afterthought can be a costly mistake. She goes on to explain how out-of-date documentation is really worse than providing no documentation at all.

Read How Out of Date Documentation Can Cost You, Your Brand and Your Company and then leave a comment here with your thoughts. Is documentation being shortchanged where you work? How have you overcome this misconception in the past? We’d love to hear from you.

Content and Quality Management

11th August 2015 Posted in Blog, Content, Management, Technical Writers 1 Comment

Image for Content and Quality Management PostTechnical writing groups are often faced with problems in trying to achieve efficient management of content quality.

In this interview with Diane Wieland, Scott Abel, publisher of The Content Wrangler, discusses how content quality management systems are used to increase the efficiency of tech pubs groups and gives specific examples of tools used for managing content quality. He also recommends several other sources that will give managers better insight into content quality management and its importance.

Read Understanding the Need for Content Quality Management and then leave a comment here with your thoughts. Have you tried any of these tools? How does your group manage content quality? We’d love to hear from you.

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