News From Nearby STC Chapters

We’ve received links from nearby chapters that may be of interest to you.

The Northeast Ohio chapter’s Line & Letters newsletter has some interesting posts to check out, including a tip for identifying passive voice with zombies and a recap of an STC webinar about search engine optimization.

Chicago’s chapter takes a different approach. They post a bimonthly PDF newsletter, Byline, which covers local and national STC news.

Reading news from nearby chapters will give you more of an idea about STC as a whole. Thank you to MK Grueneberg of STC Chicago and Sara Buchanan of NEO STC for sending the links.

Introducing Our Panelists for the Trends in Tech Comm Program

We would like to introduce the three panelists who are joining us on Monday evening, February 13, at Lawrence Tech’s Welcome Center for our program, Trends in Tech Comm: Bob Powell, retired GM Technical Fellow/Battery Systems Lab Group Manager; Rich Leazer, Manager—DocTrain, Education & Training, Health Information Technology & Services at the University of Michigan; and John Baker, a supervisor at Thomson-Reuters and recent Lawrence Tech graduate. Continue reading “Introducing Our Panelists for the Trends in Tech Comm Program”

STC Rochester’s Spectrum 2017 Conference Registration Is Open

STC Rochester is proud to announce that registration is now open for the Spectrum 2017 Technical Communication conference, March 26-28, 2017 at the Rochester Institute of Technology, featuring keynote speaker, Joe Gollner. Our theme this year is Optimizing Your Role in an Evolving Profession. Continue reading “STC Rochester’s Spectrum 2017 Conference Registration Is Open”

Trends in Tech Comm: Skills and Opportunities

Please join us on Monday, February 13, for a panel discussion of trends in the types of opportunities and skills that are needed now and those that may be needed in the next few years in technical communication in the workplace. If you are a student or a working technical communicator who is considering your next career move, this program is for you. Register here.
Continue reading “Trends in Tech Comm: Skills and Opportunities”

Casual Holiday Mixer Is Dec 13

Time to take a break from shopping, wrapping, and mailing!

Come and network with fellow STC/SM members—and non-members too—and join in the conversation at a convivial and relaxing gathering. There will not be a reserved room, so join us at the bar. Feel free to bring a friend. Everyone is welcome.

In previous years, longtime STC/SM members mingled with newer and prospective members and members of the UX community and AMWA to learn more about writing prospects in this area, exchange war stories, and just have a few good laughs over drinks and food. There is no entrance fee, but everyone will be responsible for their own meal and drinks. Ask the host to be directed to our area if we have already moved from the bar to a table.

    • When: Tuesday, December 13, 2016, anytime from 5:30 – 8 p.m.
    • Where: Conor O’Neill’s Irish Pub, 318 South Main St., Ann Arbor, Michigan. There is a parking lot just behind the pub with an entrance on South Ashley St.

Let us know that you are coming so we can save you a seat.

Recap of Mindfulness Presentation

On October 26, 2016, a dozen STC/SM members and guests convened at Washtenaw Community College (WCC) for Jeanette Brooks’ presentation on mindfulness. Geoffrey Walchak, a WCC technical communication student, wrote about her presentation for us, and Pat Martz, STC/SM blog editor, edited it.

What Is Mindfulness?

“Mindfulness,” Brooks told us, “is increasing awareness while paying attention without judgment.” “Without judgment” is the most important part because as soon as we start to assign value (or non-value) to things or people, it pulls us out of the present moment and into ruminating—worrying about the future, or dwelling on the past; while this is happening, the present moment is occurring and you are missing it.

“But don’t get too consumed by the present,” she warned us. She went on to explain how someone can be both the observer and the actor simultaneously. To pay attention without judgment is like being a witness to what happens to yourself, objectively observing everything as it happens. In time, practitioners can engage in action mindfully. That is to say, practitioners never completely let go of objective observation.
Continue reading “Recap of Mindfulness Presentation”

Mindfulness

Join us on October 26, 2016, to learn about mindfulness. “Mindfulness” has become the new kid on the self-improvement block. Maybe you’ve heard the term in the news lately and wondered what all the buzz is about. Or maybe you’re curious about why more and more people are using it as a daily practice—including Olympic athletes, professional newscasters, actresses such as Emma Watson, and even corporate meeting-goers at companies such as Google, Target, and Disney. Continue reading “Mindfulness”

Letter from the President

Fall into it

by Sharon McDonnell

Most of us have returned from our summer vacations and some of us have returned to school (or have children or grandchildren who have returned to school). The days are busier and the weather more brisk. We’re thinking about Halloween costumes and parties. We’re getting into the last quarter of the year and for many of us, that means a lot more work.

I love the Fall colors and the ability to open the doors and windows and let the fresh air in. Our chapter is also trying to breathe some fresh air into our programs and networking events. In September, we presented a program about the user’s experience along with a case study of usability testing performed for a BCBSM project. The program was held at BCBSM’s Omni Building in Southfield, was attended by 10 people and was well received. Continue reading “Letter from the President”

Program Recap: What is the User’s Experience?

Photo of Sept 20, 2016 program in session.
Attendees listen intently at September 20, 2016 program.

We all do our best to consider the user when creating our technical communications, but there is no better way to really find out what our users are thinking than to ask them! Even though it sounds simple, there are many factors to consider when creating a usability testing project.

Catherine Vera-Burgos and Sherri Dansby described how their team at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) conducted an extensive usability testing project to answer the central question: “What is important to the users of our four provider manuals, and how can we make it easier for (internal and external) users to find the information they need?” Continue reading “Program Recap: What is the User’s Experience?”