Manager’s Report

By Marcia Shannon

SIG Manager

Welcome to the first manager’s report of 2020. First, thank you for renewing your membership with STC and IDL. With your support and participation, the IDL SIG continues to thrive. Your leadership team has planned activities throughout 2020 to provide the education and community networking that support your career in technical communication. Watch for email announcements and check the website for details of upcoming events.

First quarter was busy. January 31 was the deadline to submit the Community Achievement Award application. Completing that very detailed form was a good review of all that the SIG accomplished in 2019. It is also a good checklist of what other activities we can complete in 2020. In February and March, Ed Marsh and Kelly Schrank shared useful information that you can use to advance your technical communication career. Both webinars are available on our YouTube channel.

The Student Outreach Essay competition deadline was February 22. Judging continues through March, so watch for announcements about the results. If you missed this year’s deadline, start planning to enter the next competition. Submissions are welcome throughout the year. The SIG needs support from educator members to encourage their students to enter the competition. It’s a good opportunity to be published before graduation. Suggest that students rework an essay they submitted in class to meet our newsletter style.

The hot items for second quarter are holding the annual SIG election and planning our Summit activities. Both are opportunities for you to become involved in the SIG. We plan to introduce new leaders and members during the IDL SIG Business Meeting at Summit. We invite you to be part of our celebration.

The strength of any community depends on participation and the willingness of members to work together to make the group thrive. Your next opportunity to do that is the annual elections. There are many open slots on the leadership team, both elected and appointed. Appointed means that you step up and say “I can do that”. Cheers from the other leaders will welcome you!

We need two assistant co-managers to transition to 2021’s co-managers. This is a coordinator role, not as burdensome as managing. If your career goal is any level of management, this is an opportunity to try your wings with plenty of support from other leaders.

We need a secretary. My experience as secretary was uncomplicated: Attend the monthly meeting, or listen to the recording, then write and publish the minutes. It usually took about three hours across a couple sessions each month.

Committee members can take turns covering a position or work one part of it. For example, one member of the Social Media committee could handle Twitter while someone else posts to Facebook. The committee chair would coordinate the work.

You could learn webinar management as part of the Programs committee and add it to your skills list for that next job review.

Without participation, there is no SIG. Please share your talents to keep our SIG thriving!

Marcia Shannon
Marcia Shannon

Marcia Shannon was secretary from 2016 to 2018, assistant co-manager for the SIG in 2018, and transitioned to co-manager in 2019.

Manager’s Report – 4th Quarter 2019

By: Marcia Shannon

By the time you read this edition of the newsletter, 2019 will be days away from closing. I hope you packed this year with adventure and hope, with more good times than hard times. Mine was, thanks to a growing participation in SIGs and Chapters.

At IDL, we started this year with the Student Essay Competition judging. It fascinated me to see fresh perspectives on many technical communication topics from almost-ready-to-launch new professionals. If you are not familiar with the competition, go to the Students tab on the IDL SIG website, where you can find information, including  a webinar and slides. The deadline for entries is February 22, 2020. You can download the entry form and instructions from our site.

If you know students who would benefit from a membership in STC and the IDL SIG, be sure to steer them to the site. If you are an educator in the technical communication field, promote our competition in your classes, whenever you can.

As IDL SIG manager, I learned a lot more about GoToMeeting than I ever expected. Between connectivity issues with my service provider and some hitches and glitches with GoToMeeting, the early meetings this year were difficult to complete. We got those problems resolved and began planning our table at Summit 2019. IDL was well-represented by speakers in several of the Summit tracks. Some Summit presentations will be repeated as IDL programs into next year so watch for announcements. Sign up even if you cannot attend the virtual presentation because you will receive a link to the recorded version after the presentation date Check out the website for information on upcoming presentations. Remember, this continuing education perk is free to SIG members.

Something I learned at Summit is that it takes more than a couple folks to represent the SIG during the Communities Showcase. We need volunteers to spend about 30 minutes at our information table, talking up the benefits of our IDL SIG. We also need volunteers throughout the year to back up our current leaders. As much as we enjoy what we do we want to share the fun with as many of you as possible. If you make New Year’s resolutions, consider volunteering for IDL. We need you.

My most personal benefit of being involved with the knowledgeable, dynamic, supportive SIG leaders is that of being accepted to speak at Summit 2020. I received a lot of encouragement to be brave and submit an entry, so I did. I smiled for a whole day when the acceptance email arrived.

We are preparing our 2020 budget right now. The more members we have, the more funding we receive from dues which means we can spend more on promoting IDL by bringing in speakers and holding competitions and even enticing Summit attendees with a bit of swag. Be sure to include IDL in your 2020 membership and encourage others to choose us as well.

My favorite motto remains “Never party alone.” With more volunteers, we can have a 2020 full of interesting IDL activities. I hope you will be part of the action. Best wishes that your holidays are joyful and your new year sparkles and shines.

Marcia Shannon
Marcia Shannon

Marcia Shannon was secretary from 2016 to 2018, assistant co-manager for the SIG in 2018, and transitioned to co-manager in 2019.

IDL SIG Manager’s Report: Third Quarter 2019

By Marcia Shannon, SIG Manager

While reading the August issue of The Atlantic magazine, I encountered the term “social capital.” The term refers broadly to the set of connections that ease a person’s way through the world, providing support and inspiration and opening doors. What a concise phrase to describe the benefits of taking part in STC and the IDL SIG.

Like a financial capital account, we grow our social capital by making regular deposits. The education and experience we accumulate throughout our careers. Our STC connections provide Summit sessions, online classes, and webinars which increase our accounts. Our interactions with other members in-person and virtually are our dividends.

Think about the connections have you been making to increase your technical communication social capital. What else can you do? Volunteering can be a way to show your leadership or project management skills to your employer. Your volunteer experience allows you to learn from those who know something you can use and in turn, you share your knowledge and experience with others. Take on a volunteer role and see how you can turn that experience into tangible proof of your talents.

We will announce SIG elections in the next few months. I invite you to nominate yourself for any position that interests you, filled or unfilled. Having a team cover a role enriches the experience for everyone. Please consider joining the team — it will increase everyone’s social capital.

Marcia Shannon
Marcia Shannon

Marcia Shannon was assistant co-manager for the SIG in 2018, and transitioned to co-manager in 2019.

Manager’s Report Second Quarter 2019

By: Marcia Shannon, IDL SIG Manager

Thoughts about Summit 2019

I am finally back in the groove after the Summit trip. During those recovery days, I was composing this article. Other attendees have written articles that review specific sessions. I am addressing, no, celebrating the power of connecting face to face with other technical communications professionals across industries, gender, age, experience, and schooling.

This was my fifth Summit. I discovered STC late in my career, but the eight years I have been a member have been the best. Why do I attend Summit? To gather with my “tribe” and to meet and socialize with the leaders and experts in our field. Summit was an intense learning opportunity and an intense social experience.

I had conversations that challenged my ideas and conversations where I could offer information. I attended sessions that filled gaps in my knowledge and led me to explore new ways to work. It was inspiring to be there to applaud the accomplishments of the achievers, who set us an example of “just do it.” It was energizing to explore the latest tech comm tools from major providers, such as Adobe and TechSmith.

During Summit breaks, we talked about all things tech comm without having to explain our passion to non-tech-comm colleagues. Making connections at Summit pushed me out of the job-created “lone writer” box. My strongest takeaway were the people who talked to me and listened to me, who validated my place as a tech comm professional.

A substantial number of speakers are members of this SIG. Throughout the next several months, Summit 2019 speakers will be invited to present their sessions to the IDL membership. Watch for the announcements and take advantage of this opportunity to hear these strong, articulate speakers.

It is not too early to begin planning to attend Summit 2020 in Bellevue, Washington. If your employer allocates funds for training, start building your case to use those funds for Summit. If, like me, you are an independent contractor, figure out how to work out a budget that includes saving for Summit. However you can make it happen, I believe you will find it worth your time and your money.

Marcia Shannon
Marcia Shannon

Marcia Shannon was assistant co-manager for the SIG in 2018, and transitioned to co-manager in 2019.

Co-manager’s column

By: Marcia Shannon

Stepping into a new role is scary and exciting. Being co-manager for the IDL SIG may be the biggest task I have taken on in quite some time. Being an active member of the SIG, first as secretary, then assistant co-manager was interesting and satisfying. Now, as co-manager, I have Lori and Viqui supporting me through the transition. That’s one strength of volunteering in this SIG, someone is always there to help you succeed.

Being a SIG volunteer sharpens my skills, widens my view, and provides professional fellowship. Volunteer duties can average as little as an hour a week, depending on the role. The “co” in the co-manager title means I need someone else in that same role because two heads are better than one and sharing a job makes it easier for both managers. If that job seems intimidating, go for the assistant co-manager role instead. Co-manager is part of the succession plan, where future leaders learn the co-manager role.

The first time I heard, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person,” I laughed. Now I know that it is true. We need more busy people to donate a little time to keeping our SIG strong. I challenge every SIG member to look over the open roles, find one that fits your interests, and join the leadership team. The IDL SIG is a platinum community because talented members are active participants. You are one of those talented members, and we need you. The monthly meeting is open to all members. Come to the next one to find out more about volunteering.

Marcia Shannon was assistant co-manager for in 2018, and transitioned to co-manager in 2019.