On Wednesday, March 21, we met at Lawrence Technological University for our program Clear and Simple. Our speaker, Ed Lanigan, spoke on how clarifying information and presenting it in a simple way improves our ability to communicate with our readers and creates better customer experiences. Ed has more than 20 years of multi-industry experience focused on customer experience, service performance, and six-sigma continuous improvement, and we are very grateful to have had the opportunity to hear him speak.
This thought-provoking discussion detailed the process of implementing a company-wide strategy for designing and using standardized letter templates that not only improved internal processes by slimming down unnecessary communication but also improved the content of the letters by providing a set of guidelines for writers. With the use of a standardized template, employees in different sections of the company could customize communication to clients while maintaining company branding and ensuring that the information the reader needed to know was visible and well-designed. Continue reading “Program Recap: Clear and Simple With Speaker Ed Lanigan”
We got a note from NEOSTC, the Northeastern Ohio chapter, letting us know that they have posted their March newsletter, Lines & Letters. There are several interesting articles, including the President’s Column, which has a very nice list of reasons to join NEOSTC or any other local STC chapter when you join STC.
On February 27, 2018, STC-SM held a networking event at Doc’s Sports Bar in Livonia, MI. Six of us gathered after work for snacks, beverages, and great conversation. Four were members of the STC-SM chapter and two were non-members. As a friendly reminder, STC-SM welcomes everyone at our events. Membership is not a requirement, so please join us anytime.
During our networking session, we discussed our different careers in technical communications, along with the paths we traveled to become technical communicators. We also discussed the evolving skillsets employers require in a technical communicator, and traded tips about staying current as our profession evolves. Additional topics included technical communications programs at universities (undergraduate and graduate levels) and interview techniques and portfolio building. We wrapped up the evening by talking about ideas for future STC-SM program meetings and services that the STC-SM chapter can provide for technical communicators in our area.
It was truly an enjoyable evening. By the time we left, I personally felt more connected to fellow technical communicators, and to our community at large.
Please check our upcoming events, and come on out. We would love to see you soon!
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.
Our speaker, Bonnie Tew, had just shaken her head, said “I am sorry, I just can’t do this…,” and walked out of the room. She had our full attention when she walked back in. She wanted to know if we had ever felt like that. Many of us nodded our heads in agreement.
Have you ever been interested in learning more about APIs and API documentation? It’s one of the fastest growing areas of technical communication, and it’s quickly becoming a common job requirement. APIs, or application programming interfaces, are sets of functions and methods that allow you to interface to a program or service running on another computer. APIs have become increasingly prevalent, and more technical writers are needed to document the core functionality of these APIs. Continue reading “Swagger UI and the Open API Specification”
We are thrilled to welcome Katherine Baeckeroot to the STC-SM executive council as our newly appointed vice president. She will take the helm as chapter president in the summer of 2019. We look forward to Katherine’s contributions as we continue to work together on goals that will provide value for our chapter members and the professional community. So you can get to know her a bit better, Katherine was kind enough to answer a few question for us. Please join us in welcoming our new VP! Continue reading “Meet Our New Vice President, Katherine Baeckeroot”
Please join us on Thursday, February 15, for our program, Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety. Does the thought of public speaking make you break into a cold sweat? Do you panic when your supervisor calls on you unexpectedly during a meeting? Do you cringe when you’re asked to speak at a social gathering? You are not alone; most of us experience anxiety when speaking in front of others, but we don’t have to. Continue reading “Overcome Your Speaking Anxiety”