Friday, October 20

Ben Woelk

Keynote: An Introvert's Journey to Leadership

Western society lauds extraverted leaders and their accomplishments. However, introverts make great contributions and can be effective leaders too. Many introverts feel unsuited or ill-equipped for leadership, and are not sure how to take that next step to increase influence and improve visibility. Have you wondered how to empower yourself and leverage your innate skills to become a leader? Ben will share his personal insights and leadership journey from shy team member to recognized leader. He will share key steps and experiences that have helped him become a successful leader and how you can do the same, whether you're an extravert or introvert.

I’m an introvert. I’m also an effective leader and influencer. You may or may not be positioned as a leader, but you are an influencer. Join me and discover how you can leverage the innate skills of introverts in the workplace to become effective leaders and contributors.

Marilyn Woelk

Why Should I Care What You've Done? Sometimes when we are being considered for a project team or a promotion, or applying for a job, we feel that all of our experience is valid and that an employer or manager should be able to clearly see and appreciate what we’ve accomplished in our past work experience. The question is, do employers and managers really care about that? What specifically do they focus on? How can we learn to see things as they do, and care about what they care about?

As a former employer of over 120 people hired over a 12-year time period, Marilyn will discuss how she has evaluated employees and potential employees for new opportunities, and how you can begin to think like an employer does when promoting your skills and your personal brand.

This will be an interactive session. You are welcome to submit your resume to her ahead of time at, so that you can get some direct feedback about your skills during the session. There will be a limited number of these personal reviews, so submit your information early.

After attending this session, you will have a better idea of how to “raise your stock” at work, or how to impress the next hiring manager you meet in an interview.
Brett Peruzzi

Improve Your Publications and Career Prospects with Technical Editing Skills Dedicated technical editors are now a rarity in typical resource-strapped technical publications teams. But that doesn't mean it's any less necessary a role. Often, technical writers are editing their own work, and/or editing the work of fellow writers. Sometimes tech pubs managers make it part of their responsibility. And in some cases, no one is doing it!

This presentation will explain the role of a technical editor, and how to successfully and efficiently perform the various phases of a good technical edit, particularly when time is limited. You'll learn skills and tips that will enable you to improve the quality of your team's technical publications, increase your value to your organization, and perhaps improve your career prospects as well.
Karen Giventer

Power Follow-Up: Using Follow-Up to Strengthen Your Job Search Thank you notes and other follow-up actions are not just for courtesy. Did you know that appropriate follow-up can make the difference between a job offer and an also-ran? Follow-up can be a powerful tool that strengthens other job-search efforts.

Karen Giventer presents another topic in her series of job-search sessions. In this presentation, Karen covers a variety of follow-up methods that can greatly improve your chances for learning about job opportunities as well as securing job offers.

Some of the topics covered will be:
  • Thank-you notes that say more than thank-you
  • Phone conversations
  • Post-networking follow-up
  • Following up with Staffing Agencies
  • Appropriate follow-up for each phase of the job search
Dallas Kennedy

Testing Your Documentation Samples: Automatic and other tests of software documentation examples Examples form a major pillar of technical documentation and other learning content. To be helpful, examples must be valid and up to date. Timely, functioning examples greatly enhance the impact of documentation, while obsolete or faulty examples are a major source of frustration.

This talk presents some aspects of how examples are tested, how testing examples relates to testing products, and how example testing can improve team and functional cooperation, often in surprising ways -- development, documentation, usability, quality, and release.
Tony Bove

So, You Don't Love Your Job? Perspective is everything. Instead of seeking instant fulfillment and gratification from every waking moment of your existence, you can find peace in the mundane, and compartmentalize your personal time. Work isn't life; it's how you finance your life.
Ben Woelk

Digital Self Defense 101: Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices to Stay Safe Online

Do you know what it takes to stay safe online? Do you know how to protect yourself and others? Are you worried about your online privacy? Did you know that even your smartphone can be attacked?

Cybercriminals continue to devise new ways to attack us both at work and at home. In order to meet those threats, we need to understand how to defend against them. Join us for a discussion of tips, tools, and best practices that will help you enjoy the Internet more safely, whether you’re using a personal computer, smartphone, or tablet.

Liz Fraley

Advance Your Career Through Self-Publishing Writing a book gives you an opportunity to provide tangible value. It can establish your brand and increase your professional standing. Information professionals are uniquely positioned to take advantage of self-publishing because we already know how to transform source material to online and print materials and because we have editors, designers, and talented peer reviewers in our network. While self-publishing is easier than ever, reaching your audience and making money from your book is harder for self-publishers; we do our own marketing and distribution so the audience can find our book.
Neil Perlin

Bits of the Future: Information 4.0 and the Future of Tech Comm About a decade ago, the concept of Industry 4.0 emerged in Germany as a view of automation and data exchange for “smart factories.” Information 4.0 is the information component of Industry 4.0. With characteristics like “molecular, dynamic, offered, ubiquitous, spontaneous, and profiled automatically”, it’s a “smart factory” concept and an integrated view of the future of tech comm.

Bits of Information 4.0 exist today in varying degree. Topic-based authoring is “molecular”. Device-agnostic responsive design offers “ubiquity”. Context-sensitive help is “dynamic”, and GPS and beacons take “dynamic” to new levels. So while Information 4.0 seems far-off and conceptual, bits of it – the future – exist now. This presentation looks at those bits to see where Information 4.0 and the future of tech comm are now, where they seem to be going, and what you can do with it today.

We’ll first look at Information 4.0’s basic concepts and characteristics – molecular, dynamic, offered, ubiquitous, spontaneous, and profiled automatically – from Andy McDonald’s overview at Documation 2017 in Paris in March 2017. We’ll then look at existing and some emerging technologies and tools that support these characteristics to see what kind of implementation is possible today. You won’t leave this presentation with all the answers but you will leave with a sense of an integration direction for tech comm.
Johanne Lavallee

Using Your Volunteering Experience to Boost Your Career You would like to develop a new expertise at work or lead a project but you have no experience, you need credibility get the ball rolling. “I feel I have the aptitude to become a leader but I’ve never done it.” “I just got an interview for a company that requires experience in Agile, how will I get it?” If you download a demo software, who could testify on that experience? It cannot be on your résumé. Volunteering would. In this session, we will look at several volunteering scenarios that will get you started with Agile, with team leading, with all sorts of new tools and give you leads to get that breakthrough you need. There are various ways to get involved such as long-term involvement or a one-shot project. You will learn how rich of an experience volunteering can be, while helping others. We will demonstrate, through the example of the Tech Writers without Borders, this rich experience.
Deb Sauer

UI Text: Writing the Content that Users Actually Read Your users may not read your manuals, but they have to read the UI text to use your software, app, or website. We’ll talk about how can you make the on-screen text help your audience get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible. We’ll look at content such as screen headings and body text, icons and buttons, error messages, hyperlinks, and deep links. Topics we’ll explore include sentence structure, content length, tone of voice, writing style, and localization considerations.

Saturday, October 21

David Caruso
Becoming a Strategic Communicator Strategic Thinking is the combination of Innovation, Strategy Planning, and Operational Planning. (Stanleigh, 2015) This presentation will explore the value of strategic thinking and why it is so important to an organization.
Communication professionals are ideal candidates think strategically at work because they possess that rare combination knowledge about both their audience/customer (external) and their organization (internal). We will examine both the research and strategy phases of strategic thinking which further illustrate why communicators are well suited to this process.
Kelly Schrank

Ideas and Advice for Building Side Gigs at Your Day Job
We all know we should be continually learning and expanding our skill set to advance our career or sometimes just to keep a job. It can be hard to find the time or get the opportunity to stretch our muscles and develop new skills. Or maybe you’re happy with your job but just want a little variety or to see other parts of the company where you work. A side gig at your day  job might be just the thing!

In this session, we will discuss some of the skills and experience the presenter has acquired to make herself indispensable to her current company and client. After a short discussion of her side gigs, there will be an exercise to walk attendees through what they would like to learn or explore at their day job or with their clients, followed by a discussion of how to get there. Get out of your comfort zone, think creatively, and move toward the future with the help of the presenter and the other attendees. This session is meant to be interactive, motivational, and informational.
Liz Fraley

The Art of Personal Branding: How to Tell the YOU Story and Gain New Customers If you want someone to hire you or your company, you need to be able to tell your story: who you are, what your plan is, and what defines you. There are key points to address at each point in the story in order to gain customers. Whether you’re the boss or on your own, you are constantly interviewing and telling your story. I’ll  give you two tactics to help you on your way, but you should bring your questions so you can get the answers you seek!
Chuck Campbell

Create Presentation Handouts that People Will Actually Use At some point in your career, you may be required to give a presentation to a live audience. Whether your presentation includes visual slides such as PowerPoint or not, you might want to provide printed handouts to your audience.
In this presentation, I will discuss suggested “best practices” for handouts from presentation experts, and then introduce a new approach to creating printed handouts that will engage the audience in your presentation and provide handouts that they will actually use.
Ben Woelk

Workshop: Revive and Thrive: Temperament-based Strategies for Today's Workplace

Today’s workplace presents challenges for introverted and extraverted team members. Many workplaces are adopting open space layouts that foster teamwork but provide little opportunities for introverts to contribute as individuals. Because of Western society’s emphasis on extraversion, many introverts feel unsuited or ill-equipped to thrive in today’s workplace and are not sure how to take that next step to increase influence and improve visibility. Whether you're an introvert or an extravert, you'll benefit from understanding your temperament and how you interact best with others.

Attendees will

  • learn general and specific insights gained from personality and temperament typing
  • identity their strengths and weaknesses
  • discuss workplace challenges
  • learn strategies to mitigate these challenges
  • create an action plan to revive and thrive

Attendees will benefit most from the workshop if they know their Myers-Briggs/temperament profile in advance. I recommend taking the tests at and before attending.

Johanne Lavallee

Use Case: Reusing with Word and Loving It! This use case takes you through the content journey of a 60-year old small company with a new -experienced- tech writer, searching for a reuse solution. The starting point was the Atlanta 2013 STC Summit where the initial goal was to find out if DITA was the answer. In this particular case, it was… to stay in Word. After talking with and reading the work of Mark Lewis, looking at all the available solutions brought back from Summit and analyzing carefully the needs and restrictions of the small company, Word became the platform to make it happen. Using SmartDocs to create topic-based content and a local Sharepoint to keep the snippets, variables and conditions, Johanne managed to setup the technical documentation for the whole company and discovered she could reuse 70% and sometimes build whole manuals in 2 days. This use case also shows quickly what kind of problems need to be addressed when doing documentation in French and English with variables and snippets. How to make snippets work for multiple models with the same master document, when some have less steps. You will also find out about the best practices, and the simplicity (very little taxonomy) when reusing in this type of solution.
Char James-Tanny

How Can I Work if I've Got a Disability?

Everyone will spend, on average, 11% of their lives with a disability. This includes everything from temporary (broken bone) to permanent (too many to list). And as we age, we say "We're getting old." We get new eyeglasses and prescription sunglasses. We discover that stairs are to be avoided, doctor visits are more frequent, and our joints disapprove of many of our actions.

During this session, Char will talk about and demo the many features available to those who still want to work but need to know what their options are.

 Jennifer Morse
An Overview of MadCap Flare: Topic-Based Authoring and Single-Source Publishing In this one-hour presentation, we will take a high-level look at the features and benefits of authoring in a topic-based environment like MadCap Flare. We’ll explore the advantages of topic-based authoring over traditional authoring, showcase some of the rich single-sourcing capabilities of Flare. Finally, we’ll show you how users are streamlining their content creation with modern, responsive HTML5 web-based Help and support sites and print-based guide - all out of the box.
 Julia Cho

Screencasting: Tips for creating engaging screencasts Screencasts are fast becoming a routine deliverable for technical communicators. They can be a great addition to the content we provide to users, but too often screencasts fail to engage our audience. Learn simple tips and tricks for creating screencasts that your viewers will want to watch from start to finish.

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