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Indiana to Help with Technical Writing Grants

15th August 2014 Posted in Blog, Industry Articles 0 Comments

Indiana State Capitol BuildingInside Indiana Business reported recently that the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and the Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship are partnering to help small businesses in Indiana access funding for technical writing assistance to companies writing research or technology transfer proposals.

Eligible Indiana companies can receive up to $5,000 in proposal writing or market research assistance for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) proposals. Companies may also receive up to $500 in proposal review services.

The same initiative will also re-launch Indiana’s Phase I matching program. Companies interested in Phase I matching can access up to an additional 50 cents for every federal dollar (up to $50,000 per award), subject to funding availability and eligibility determination through Elevate Ventures.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Technology oversees the SBIR and STTR Programs. Participating Federal Agencies post solicitations throughout the year. Small businesses compete by submitting proposals to these agencies. A winner in the competitive solicitation process is awarded a grant.

Additional information is available through the Indiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center’s webiste at http://www.indianaptac.com/sbirsttr/.

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Top 10 Interview Tips for Job Applicants

18th October 2013 Posted in Blog, Career Development, Industry Articles 0 Comments

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Recently, we featured an article on Successful Interviewing and Hiring for managers. Now we’ll provide some tips for applicants being interviewed.

An interview can be a very stressful experience for a job applicant. Use these tips as a checklist before and after your next interview and the process should go much more smoothly for you.

Read our Top 10 Interview Tips and leave a comment here if you have additional interviewing tips to add for job applicants.

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Negotiation Techniques
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Secrets to Successful Interviewing and Hiring

9th October 2013 Posted in Blog, Hiring, Industry Articles, Management 0 Comments

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Frequently, technical communicators and others who have been promoted into management find themselves facing the need to interview candidates for open positions. While successful interviewing is key to finding the right match for open positions in the department, all too often interviewers have never been provided with training to build their interviewing skills.

In her article, “5 Secrets to Successful Interviewing and Hiring,” Karen O’Keefe looks at:

  • Writing a detailed job description
  • Making sure the setting/environment is conducive
  • Conducting a programmed interview
  • Using multiple interviewers
  • Considering testing

Read the article and share your thoughts, ideas and experiences on interviewing and hiring in a comment below.

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Managing Conflict on Teams

26th September 2013 Posted in Blog, Industry Articles, Management 0 Comments

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Opportunities for conflict within teams abound in today’s work environment. Learning how to manage conflict can be an important part of a manager’s skill set. Unfortunately, conflict management is often missing from corporate training programs.

In her article, “Managing Conflict,” Kerry Harris looks at:

  • Objectives as a navigation tool
  • Diffusing conflict in teams
  • Identifying barriers
  • Tactics for motivating change

Read the article and share your thoughts, ideas and experiences on managing conflict in the workplace in a comment below.

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Creating a New Documentation Department

13th September 2013 Posted in Blog, Industry Articles, Management 0 Comments

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As a documentation manager or lead technical writer, you may be faced with expanding your group or creating a new working group from scratch. You’ll want to hit the ground running and show that your new department functions well, adds value to the organization and can work well and play well with others.

Eric Butow has had to set up documentation groups in very different settings. His experience can prove invaluable to others who are facing the challenge for the first time.

In his article, “Five Questions to Ask Yourself While Creating a New Documentation Department,” Butow provides some insight on what to consider when forming a new documentation group, with five specific questions that can guide you in getting it right. Read the article and then leave a comment here if you have additional tips for setting up a documentation department.

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Teaching Single Sourcing to Bridge the Gap Between Classrooms and Industry

5th September 2013 Posted in Blog, Industry Articles, Technical Writers 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This was the feature article in this month’s TechCom Manager newsletter, reprinted here with permission. Click the previous link to subscribe to the newsletter.

by Robin Evans, Ph.D.

Robin Evans, Ph.D.

Writers using single sourcing become content developers; they learn to do more than just reorganize the content, but target the content for specific audiences and purposes when using a single-sourced environment properly, often more quickly and more efficiently than writing using only linear methods. When students in Technical and Professional Communication (TPC) programs are trained how to write using modular writing methods, in addition to the traditional linear method, they will be better prepared to write in their perspective industries, particularly when their organization uses elements of single sourcing.

(more…)

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How Technical Writers Can Get Good Reviews in Bad Times

Luanne Oleas, Author of CONFESSIONS OF A QUALITY QUEEN: GETTING GOOD REVIEWS IN BAD TIMES WITH REMOTE TEAMS

Luanne Oleas points out: “All the old standards are out the window. We are left with our wits, if we are lucky, and the wiles we’ve developed over the course of our careers. But sometimes, just sometimes, writers can defeat the deadline dragon. You can overcome the overriding fact that you are overwhelmed. ”

So, as an overwhelmed technical writer in today’s global team environment, just how do you do that?

In her article, “Confessions of a Quality Queen: Getting Good Reviews in Bad Times with Remote Teams,” Oleas provides four actionable techniques that technical writers can use to make the most of the time, resources, and energy they have have left. Read the article and then leave a comment here if you have additional ideas for making the most of today’s work environment.

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Eliminating the End Game from Technical Publishing Deliverables

8th August 2013 Posted in Blog, Industry Articles, Technical Writers 0 Comments

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When it comes time to “Just Publish It”, technical communicators may find themselves going through an end game to get the job done. The steps needed to get deliverables published electronically in a variety of formats can sometimes be seen as a tough job that someone has to do. If you could find a way to shorten and streamline the process, would you?

In this article, Alan J. Porter discusses how a properly designed and mapped publishing system can bring many significant benefits to any publishing organization, freeing writers to focus more on content. It can also help to develop a “lights-out / hands-off” publishing environment so that production runs can be made automatically outside normal working hours, thereby avoiding bottlenecks and balancing the use of computer resources.

Read: Eliminating the END GAME from Electronic Deliverables and then leave a comment here if you have found additional ways to streamline the technical publishing process for your electronic deliverables.

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5 Secrets to Successful Interviewing and Hiring for Managers

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Most managers have had the experience of interviewing and subsequently hiring a candidate who later turns out not to be the right person for the job. The process of poor selection can be a learning opportunity – at best.

What you look for and what someone else looks for in a candidate are likely to be quite different. But by developing a process, defining the position, and nailing down your questions well in advance before interviewing candidates, you vastly increase the likelihood of a successful hiring decision.

In this article, Karen O’Keefe discusses five key activities that make the difference between a successful hiring decision and a not-so-successful one.

Read: Five Secrets to Successful Interviewing and Hiring and then leave a comment here if you have additional tips you’d like to share from your interviewing and hiring experiences.

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Separating Technical Publishing from Art

7th June 2013 Posted in Blog, Documentation, Industry Articles 0 Comments

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“Writing is a solitary occupation. Publication is a group exercise.” – Novelist Madeline Robbins

In traditional book publishing, the work may start with the author, but to get it from the author to the end reader means it also has to go through an editor, copy editor, book designer, typesetter, printer, sales and marketing team, distributor, book buyer, and, eventually, a retail store.

Alan J. Porter points out in his article, Why Technical Publishing Shouldn’t Be Art, that in most cases within the tech pubs industry, it’s the same person who writes the content, designs the documents, and uses special tools to publish the material. And not only is one person doing the whole job, but often several people are all doing the same thing in parallel.

Read the article and then leave a comment here. Do you think it’s practical and efficient to break down the several areas of expertise used in tech pubs so that each individual only needs to be an expert in the area in which he or she is most passionate and skilled?

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