Rereading Your Content

My primary job these days comprises writing and editing training and development materials. Every 3-6 months, the customer makes changes to the content, which can affect specific presentation slides or whole sections of the training materials. Accepting the changes is a relatively simple task; however, before I hand the course back, I take the time to reread the entire course–PowerPoint presentation, script, and participant workbook–to make certain I haven’t missed anything along the way. This is a good practice to maintain regardless of what you’re changing or how often. Continue reading

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Working When You’re in Distress

Last week, I discussed using emotional intelligence to achieve a state of “radical candor” in the workplace. What I want to talk about today is how most emotional matters outside of work are handled in the professional workplace…at least as far as I’ve seen them.

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Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

As I’ve noted in previous entries, I’m a rather emotional chap on occasion. My mentor D2 suggested a webinar on using emotional intelligence titled “How Emotional Intelligence Drives Candid Conversations and Improved Performance.” The presentation provided some useful insights on what the speaker, Denny Farote, called “radical candor.” The important thing I got from the talk is that the only way to have an office environment operating with true candor is to have people who have the emotional sensitivity to share their truths honestly but also in a caring manner. I’ll share some of my notes/observations from the talk below. Continue reading

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Demonstrating Your Value

One of the sessions at the recent 2018 STC Summit was titled, “Communicate Your Value: How Analytics Can Transform Your Career.” This session was positioned at the last slot of the week before the concluding luncheon, so the presenter (Dustin Vaughn from Adobe) wisely kept the presentation almost completely text free and encouraged group discussion instead of delivering a straight lecture. The talk/discussion covered the issue of how technical writers can use metrics to demonstrate their value to an organization.

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Dig a Hole, Fill It: The Nature of Repeat Work

While I am a huge fan of writing first drafts of content, I often end up doing a lot of repeat work. This isn’t because I’ve made mistakes and have to do the work over (though that has happened on rare occasions). Rather, it’s the nature of technical writing for practitioners to edit, update, or rewrite documents that they have worked worked on previously. This is one of the realities of the job, but it is not simply a matter of digging the same hole only to refill it later. Allow me to explain. Continue reading

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Academic vs. Business Writing

During my time at the 2018 STC Summit, I asked knowledgable professionals about things that young professionals or fresh-out-of-school university students needed to work on to be more effective in the workplace. One topic that came up was using “academic-style” writing vs. “business style.” I struggled with this myself on my first writing job, so it’s obviously not a new concern. Let’s take a look at what this means. Continue reading

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Reader Response: Is Technical Writing for Me?

This week I received an email from Camille, a reader who is a recent transplant to the U.S. who is hoping to make the jump from education to technical writing. Her message and my reply can be read below. Continue reading

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