Happy New Year

Looking forward is always a good thing, but I’m going to start this year by looking back at the lessons to be learned. Things I will need to improve upon include better planning of work, there is one big project that I will head up that needs to be delivered by September, so I’ll be looking at how to get a better handle on that. One thing I learned last year was to rely more on my colleagues, to look to their strengths to compensate for my weaknesses; attention to detail is something I can struggle with so I’ll be getting some help with that by getting my plans reviewed by a couple of people before I present them to …

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Say Thank You

As some of you will now be aware, I am no longer writing my monthly Blog News column for the ISTC newsletter, InfoPlus+. It actually started life here on this blog, every week (or so) I used to post a list of interesting posts and blogs and for a while there was an overlap but, eventually, I dropped the feature from the blog as the monthly approach gave me a little more scope to collect the best links and yes, I will admit I enjoyed the writing process that went with the column (believe me, it took me longer than you’d think). Alas life continues to challenge my time so after not managing to submit my column for a couple …

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Why seems to be hardest word

I was chatting to a new colleague, an experienced technical architect, the other day to give him an overview of my team and what we produce. He asked what type of information we provided, was it the “clicky clicky” type or something more useful that explains how our product works. I assured him that we covered more of the latter type of information, but also provided “clicky clicky” (procedural) information when appropriate. For his type of role, that audience persona (experienced and highly technical), that form of information is exactly what he wants. For other parts of our product, used by inexperienced staff often with a high turnover, we try and help keep the costs of training down by providing …

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What is your job title?

In the past I’ve held the following positions: Technical Administrator Technical Writer Documentation Specialist Technical Communications Manager Publications Team Leader The first three have similarities as they were all grounded in the production of technical documentation. The latter two are essentially the same thing, leading a team of technical writers producing technical information. None of the job titles I had limited me, by my thinking, in what I could and couldn’t do. My current job title, as confirmed on my new business cards which handily arrived just AFTER I’d been to TCUK12, is Product Information Manager. I didn’t choose this but, whilst talking through my role and responsibilities recently, I realised it’s pretty accurate. The team I’m part of does …

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So that was TCUK12

It’s been a few days since I got home after the Technical Communications Conference this year, and I’ve been digesting and mulling over some of the ideas and thoughts gathered from the speakers and conversations. The conference was in a new location, Newcastle, and that brought a different feel to the event. Hard to put my finger on it but it felt a little more business like, or maybe just a little less social? Not sure, and as ever my experience will be different from others. Something that hasn’t changed was the value. It remains an excellent opportunity to learn from your peers, industry experts, and if nothing else it’s great to hear that we are doing the right things …

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TCUK 12

The time has come, so Gordon said, to talk of many things, of slides and chats, and learning facts, and something else that rhymes but I’m rubbish at poetry (with sincere apologies to Lewis Carroll). Enough of that though, what I want to talk about is the Technical Communications Conference 2012 (TCUK12) and why you should go. Disclaimer: I serve on the Council of the ISTC, who organise this event.  Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time a young (ok, middle-aged) man had started a new job and was trying to figure out the best way to improve things and solve some of his problems. The year was 2007. At the time, the young man (oh shut …

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TCUK – Call for Papers

Call for Papers for TCUK 12 Dear reader, You are an intelligent person, have you ever considered sharing your knowledge with others? Perhaps doing a short presentation at an industry conference? Regardless of your experience, or industry, the Technical Communications UK conference wants you! New speakers and experienced speakers – all welcome Regardless of whether you want to present for the first time or you are a seasoned conference speaker, we want to hear from you. We don’t mind if you are new to technical communication or if you have worked in this field for ever, if you have something to say to other technical communicators thenTCUK 2012 is your chance to say it. Industry sectors Technical communicators work across a …

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Conference bound

There are three of us travelling down to the Technical Communications conference in Oxford. We fly down tonight, back on Thursday evening and I must admit I’m really looking forward to it. And yes, I’ve still to finish my presentation (just a couple of rehearsals left though). For those of you who can’t make it, but want a quick view of what’s going on, keep an eye on Twitter. Specifically the #TCUK10 hashtag. And for those of you who CAN make it, I’ll see you there (I’ll be the loud Scottish bloke near the bar).

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TCUK10 – quick guide

This is an update to a previously published post. Not all of the sessions are scheduled yet, so I’ll update this as and when but, if you are wanting a quick print out of the session to, for example, convince your boss to splash some cash, then hopefully this PDF will do the trick: Technical Communications Conference 2010. (Note: a similar PDF is also available from the conference website but I think mine is prettier :p)

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Twitter is useful

At the Technical Communications conference last year, I had a couple of discussions with people about Twitter. I was mostly trying to convince them of why I found it valuable, they were mostly of the opinion it was noise about what people had for lunch. I’ve recently been reminded of the value Twitter can have, and again it’s thanks to a conference, specifically a conference I DIDN’T attend. Like most people, budgets are limited when it comes to training and conferences, so there are limits to those I and the rest of my team can attend. The value gained from attending conferences is something we’ve proven in the past, but it doesn’t quite stretch to flying across the pond to …

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