Clear & Simple is a mindset—a way of doing business that keeps a focus on the customer in all the work we as communicators do. By using clear language and making simpler interactions, we can create experiences that are easy, useful, and enjoyable for users.
There are many facets of Clear & Simple, such as website usability, product design, marketing materials, payment and cost share, and more. Our speaker, Ed Lanigan from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM), will focus his presentation on applying the Clear & Simple principles to customer letters. Considering BCBSM sends over 10 million letters a year, it’s an important aspect of their business.
In late June, we held our annual awards program combined with the changing of the guard, the last event of our program year. The program took place at my home and included a potluck luncheon. Volunteers were recognized with a letter of appreciation and Pat Martz received the Distinguished Chapter Service Award. The gavel was passed to our new president, Alison Phillips, and I was presented with a personalized gavel.
We felt very good about our chapter’s accomplishments this year:
We revised our chapter bylaws.
We achieved the silver Community Achievement Award.
We mentored our intern, Sasha Strait.
We developed a program evaluation form to gather statistics from our programs.
We continued our practice of scheduling networking events in various locations:
Happy hour at D’Amato’s in Royal Oak
Holiday Mixer at Conor O’Neill’s in Ann Arbor
Breakfast at Sweetwater’s Café on Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor
Networking after the close of the Internet User Experience conference in Ann Arbor, and
Happy hour at Doc’s Sports Retreat in Livonia.
And we had some interesting program topics:
What Is the User’s Experience?, at BCBSM in Southfield
Mindfulness, at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor
Trends in Technical Communication, a panel discussion at Lawrence Tech in Southfield
Using Camtasia: A Video-Creation Tool for Documentation Professionals, at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor
Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make my term as president a success and so enjoyable. I am grateful that our chapter will be in Alison’s very capable hands, and I look forward to serving our chapter as Immediate Past President.
Please join us on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, from 5:30 p.m.–7:00 p.m. for a casual networking event at Doc’s Sports Retreat in Livonia.
Doc’s Sports Retreat Address: 19265 Victor Pkwy, Livonia, MI 48152 Phone: (734) 542-8162 docssportretreat.com
RSVP by noon the day before: RSVP to Sharon McDonnell so we have enough seating reserved.
Meet other technical communicators or get reacquainted with those you already know. Feel free to bring a friend. (STC/SM membership is not a requirement to attend.) We are planning to discuss various conferences that we’ve attended lately: the Summit in Washington, D.C., the IUE conference in April at WCC, and the Spectrum conference in Rochester, NY in March.
There is no entrance fee, but everyone is responsible for his or her own dinner and drinks. When you arrive at Doc’s, ask the host to direct you to the STC/SM table. Hope to see you there!
by Thomas Glennan, Immediate Past President and Nominations Chairman
All current members should have received an email with a link to the online ballot (should be from electionbuddy Elections). It has a link to the ballot where you can vote for officers: President=Pat Martz or abstain; Vice President=Sharon McDonnell or abstain; Secretary=Alison Phillips or abstain; Treasurer=Maryann Bowen or abstain. Also you can write in a nominee for the nominations committee and make suggestions for future programs, etc.
Elections are open now through Monday, June 8. If you are a chapter member and have not received the email yet, contact Tom Glennan.
On Wednesday, May 20, 2015 about a dozen or so attended the final program of the STC-SM 2014/2015 year at Blue Cross Blue Shield in Southfield.
Sharon McDonnell provided an excellent overview of Extensible Markup Language (XML) within a Content Management System (CMS) and how it related to the documentation process at Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Highlights of the program included:
• Discussion on how over 9,000 linear feet of print documentation were converted into an electronic format!
• Demonstration of Arbortext in managing XML content.
• Benefits of single-sourcing documentation for managing content on multiple websites.
Check back soon to see our chapter’s fall events and in the meantime don’t forget to register for the 62nd annual STC Summit in Columbus, Ohio from June 21-24 at http://summit.stc.org/.
Along with cleaning out the garage, planting the garden, and (finally) taking down the Christmas decorations, spring is the time of year for STC-SM Council nominations. This is the perfect opportunity to get involved and contribute to your STC community, while also building your professional network, skills, and resume at the same time. And you get to meet and work with a great team of people in the process – what a deal!
The most significant opportunity – and the most critical, immediate need – is for volunteers to run for chapter officer positions (Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer) as well as two elected (but non-officer) Nominations Committee positions. Note that since the Vice President normally transitions into the office of President the following year, which our current Vice President, Sharon McDonnell has confirmed she plans to do, the President for next year is already determined and does not need to be voted on. Continue reading “Announcing 2015-2016 Council Nominations”
It’s interesting how the STC/SM casual networking events have evolved. The locations for our formal programs don’t vary a lot in order to keep them centrally located for a majority of our members. As a complement to the formal programs, our casual networking events were devised as a way for technical communicators to meet up closer to where they live.
And yet, at our most recent networking event, which was held in Royal Oak on Thursday, April 26, 2015, technical communicators traveled from Toledo, Canton, Novi, Auburn Hills, and Royal Oak to attend! I take this as a strong indicator of the perceived value of networking. In fact, when the topic came up about how best to land new jobs or new contracts, the #1 answer was—you guessed it—NETWORKING. Continue reading “Members Came from Far and Wide to Attend Royal Oak Networking Event”
Are you a technical communication student or do you know one? If so, the following information may be of interest:
The Technical Editing Special Interest Group of the Society for Technical Communication is now accepting applications for a $1400 undergraduate scholarship and a $1400 graduate scholarship for students pursuing studies in technical communication. For more information, go to http://www.stc-techedit.org/Scholarship .