Jamye Sagan hosts our Sixth Annual IDL SIG Virtual Open House

Watch the Virtual Open House here

On December 7, 2018, SIG members and STC members gathered online for our sixth annual Virtual Open House. Jamye Sagan, longtime SIG leader and enthusiastic volunteer, opened the program which began at 7:30 pm Eastern time. Sagan chaired the meeting and welcomed attendees, inviting everyone to feel at ease and join the conversation.

Lori Meyer,  IDL SIG co-manager, presented the mission and goals of our group and stressed that members are welcome to join the group to build their skills, stretch their knowledge, ask questions, and try things out.

Sagan then introduced the team leaders one by one, highlighting the value that each area brings to members. Viqui Dill talked about the webinar series that showcases experts in our field and stressed that SIG members can attend or watch the recordings for free as a benefit of membership. Meyer presented again, this time about her role as co-manager and her passion for recognizing volunteers through our new SIG awards program. Next, Marcia Shannon discussed her role as assistant co-manager and her upcoming role as co-manager beginning in 2019, and the empowerment offered to volunteers to learn, grow, and stretch. Sagan then presented about the role of secretary and introduced our new volunteer, Madison Estabrook. Sagan followed that with her discussion of her current roles, generously wearing the hats of treasurer, social media manager, and surveys lead. Dill presented the role of membership manager and thanked Sara Buchanan for her many years of faithful service. Kelly Smith introduced herself and the newsletter, IDeaL: Design for Learning, inviting attendees to submit articles to be published online.  Shannon and Sagan gave an update about the Student Outreach Program chaired by Sylvia Miller, which offers the opportunity for students to be published before they graduate. Meyer presented the role of content curator and thanked Mellissa Ruryk for filling that need in . Sagan gave an update about the website maintained by Maralee Sautter, the training evaluations program, and some of our other SIG programs, the discussion list maintained by Dr. Elizabeth Bailey, and the STC mentoring program championed by Scott McCoy.

Sagan then summarized the benefits of membership, including the opportunity to meet face to face at the STC Summit and attend the educational sessions specific to IDL. Meyer summarized the benefits of volunteering and invited attendees and members to take the next step and support the SIG. Sagan explained how to join the SIG and invited attendees to sign up, then presented contact information including links to our social media outlets.

Congratulations to Paula Robertson, Angelina Nachimuthu, Kelly Smith, and Marcia Shannon  who won the Amazon gift cards at the end of the meeting. An informal discussion about IDL and the cats we love wrapped up the meeting, offering us another opportunity to connect online.

Many thanks to attendees and presenters, especially to Jamye Sagan for bringing us the Sixth Annual IDL SIG Virtual Open House.

InterChange 2018

By Viqui Dill

On October 26 and 27, the New England chapter held their annual InterChange regional conference at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center in Lowell, Massachusetts. IDL SIG members were well represented, both as attendees and as presenters.  

This year's theme was “Engineering Experiences”. The conference website explains, “Technical communicators have always crafted stories and experiences for users using their words and technical expertise. As technology evolves, the need to craft effective and engaging experiences is more important than ever.”

Danielle Villegas, IDL SIG member and president of the STC Philadelphia Metro Chapter (STC-PMC), delivered the keynote, “What is Experience to a Technical Communicator?” Villegas shared several examples of content that was focused on user experience in popular culture, television ("The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"), advertising (Sandals, Royal Caribbean), restaurants (Japanese steakhouses), technical manuals (Porsche) and even Ikea stores. She explained why each was effective and urged us look for opportunities to create experiences in our own deliverables.

Kelly Schrank, IDL SIG member and president of the STC Rochester chapter, delivered a session about “Engineering Your Networking Experiences” on Friday. Schrank gave tips about getting the most out of networking at conferences and other technical communications gatherings before, during, and after the event. She reassured the group that these events are not just about passive learning but are also great opportunities to make connections with other professionals. Schrank dispelled many myths about networking, including “some people like networking” and “some people are naturally good at it” and gave us actionable tips for setting goals, starting conversations, and remembering names.

Cindy Currie, STC past president (2009-2010), presented “Press Play! The Power of Personal Energy Management” and urged attendees to care for themselves physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Currie gave us five steps to personal wellness: boost energy; make a list, not a schedule; evaluate energy levels; set priorities; and be flexible.

Liz Fraley presented “Getting the Most out of TC Camp (or any Other Volunteer-driven Event)”, sharing the story of TC Camp and the TC Dojo, sharing tips on working with volunteers.

Viqui Dill (that’s me) presented “#PowerOfStory - The Cultural Program That got me Clicks” to close out the educational sessions on Friday. You can see my slides online and let me know what you think.    

Lou Prosperi presented two sessions about Imagineering. Session 1 was “Imagineering and Technical Communication: A Match Made in Disneyland” and introduced the Imagineering Pyramid. Session 2 was “Designing Your Experience the Walt Disney World Way” based on the Imagineering Process. Read his post about the event on his blog, The Imagineering Toolbox.

Liz Fraley presented again, this time delivering “The Future is Decided by Your Actions Today”. Fraley encouraged us to adapt to change, rather than waiting to be forced. Her presentation included tips for how to ask questions, listen, research, and think. She suggested adding the job description “TechComm Psychic” to our skillset.

Steven Jong, President of the New England chapter, presented again about generational differences in his “Writing and Working Across the Generations” session. Jong introduced us to the population pyramid and gave tips for engaging Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials. See his slides and reference links on SlideShare.

Chuck Campbell, IDL SIG member and frequent conference speaker, presented “Engineering Better Training Experiences through Innovative Presentation Techniques and Technologies”. Campbell gave us a fresh look at PowerPoint presentations, showed us how to leverage simple animation techniques, and gave a demonstration of the Ipevo interactive whiteboard system.

Bernard Aschwanden, STC past president (2015-2016), presented “Create Once. Publish Many.” and took us through a live demonstration of interactive content strategy, development, and publishing.

After the conference, I went to dinner with fellow attendees Donna Riedman, Chuck Campbell, Kelly Schrank, Bernard Aschwanden, and my son Jim Dill.  The next day, Jim and I took a side trip to Maine. We look forward to attending InterChange every year. 

Congratulations on a great conference to all the planners and volunteers in the New England chapter.

See all the tweets from the conference under the hashtag #InterChange2018 and make plans to attend the next time in 2019.

Programs update: Rockin’ the webinars!

by Viqui Dill, programs manager

Your friends in the IDL SIG have been busy gathering and producing educational webinars for our members.

Saying, “Yes, and… ” to Leadership Opportunities webinar with Ben Woelk

On November 11, Ben Woelk brought us encouragement for getting involved in STC. Watch the recording and tell us what you thought. Then consider stepping up to volunteer for the SIG.

Can You Hear Me Now? Podcasting as a Teaching Tool webinar with Jennifer Goode

On October 18, Dr. Jennifer Goode reprised her popular 2018 Summit presentation about podcasting. Even Hurricane Michael could not keep her down. Watch the recording and tell us what you thought.

Technological Adaptability Formalizing a Vital Skill webinar with Dr. Melonie McMichael

On September 13, Lonie McMichael taught us about an important skill, technological adaptability. Watch the recording and tell us what you thought.

Lights, Camera, Action! Exploring Video Basics for Non-Production Professionals with Beery and Barton

On August 13, Darcy Beery and Stacy Barton taught us about basic video recording. Watch the recording and tell us what you thought.

Teaching Technical Writing to Engineers —What Works? with Noel Atzmiller

On December 6, Noel Atzmiller showed us how to effectively teach engineers how to write. Watch the recording and tell us what you thought.

Do you have an idea?

We are always looking for speakers and ideas for topics. If you would like to speak, know of a good speaker, or have an idea for a good webinar topic, contact me directly at programs@nullstcidlsig.org. We would love to make you a star!

Upcoming Events

We Stoop to Conqquer: Adjusting to Mediocrity webinar with Li-At Rathbun

On January 24, Li-At Rathbun will present her popular Summit session, We Stoop to Conqquer: Adjusting to Mediocrity. Sign up on Eventbrite.

You can see the full list of upcoming events on our Facebook events page and can register there using Eventbrite for easy ticketing. Check it out https://www.facebook.com/pg/STCIDLSIG/events

Past Events

See our library of past events on our YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW68UREs2Cxs6KJUM7nZdtA/videos

And find the complete library of videos, slide decks, and handouts on our website http://www.stcidlsig.org/membership/webinars/free-recordings-of-idl-sig-webinars-for-members/

January 24, 2019 We Stoop to Conqquer: Adjusting to Mediocrity webinar with Li-At Rathbun

Join us for the "We Stoop to Conqquer: Adjusting to Mediocrity" webinar with Li-At Rathbun.

10:30 am Pacific / 11:30 am Mountain / 12:30 pm Central / 1:30 pm Eastern

Thursday, January 24, 2019

About the webinar

When our boss or client says “good enough” work is good enough, shouldn’t it be good enough? Why is it a struggle to produce mediocre work when that’s what the customer wants? Yes, one day the powers-that-be will agree that all documentation must be flawless and superb. But how do we survive until that day comes? This session:

  • Explores reasons for why mediocre work might be okay
  • Teaches us a mantra—for those times we just need to hunker down and deliver so much less than what we’re capable of
  • Is a venting session! In our cone of silence, we will close our eyes, use anonymous names, and share our travails.

We will learn we are not alone in the trenches of mediocrity!* * No, of course you’ve never worked on a project of this sort; I’m talking to the others. You’ll just be there “to observe.”

We will be recording the webinar, so feel free to enjoy the presentation knowing that you can see the recording at a later date.

Intended Audience

The content will be introductory (e.g., > “101 level”) and will also be valuable to practitioner level attendees.

About the Speaker: Li-At Rathbun

Li-At Rathbun has over 20 years of technical communication experience (yes, since kindergarten). For the last eleven of those years, she’s worked primarily as the technical editor at Yardi Systems—an international software company.

Li-At is an STC Associate Fellow and she teaches the popular “Technical Editing Foundations” STC online course.

If you’re in Santa Barbara on the first Saturday of any given month, you might catch Li-At performing with Santa Barbara Improv. You can connect with Li-At on LinkedIn and Twitter (@virtual_li).

December 7: Sixth Annual IDL SIG Virtual Open House

Announcement: Your IDL Leadership Team needs to reschedule this meeting for December 7.

We are so sorry for the inconvenience.

Virtual Open House Time!!!

As a virtual community, with all of our members scattered across the globe, we do not have the same opportunities as geographically-based communities to meet up face-to-face. Since 2013, we have hosted the IDL SIG Virtual Open House (VOH) so that new and prospective IDL SIG members could learn more about our community’s mission and goals, learn more about member benefits, and meet some of our leaders and volunteers.

During our VOH, participants have always had the opportunity to ask questions about the SIG and what we offer.

Virtual Party, too!

We’d like to combine our VOH with a virtual party (VP), where we would encourage all attendees to turn on their web cameras, share a photo or story. The VP (not be confused with Vice President!) we hope will add a very human, personal side to our VOH. Hey, it is all about making real, enduring connections!

About the webinar

The webinar will be recorded so feel free to watch with us online and then rewatch at your leisure. No need to take notes. If you cannot attend, sign up anyway so that you will get a link to the recording.

See the 2017 VOH recording on YouTube.

See the 2016 VOH recording on YouTube.

See the 2015 VOH recording on YouTube.

See the 2014 VOH recording on Adobe Connect.