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.

IDL SIG Named a 2018 Platinum Community!

One again, our SIG has been named an STC Platinum Community! This award, the highest level in the STC Community Achievement Awards, recognizes our accomplishments and member services over the past year.

The citation on our certificate will read:

"For your dedication in promoting the technical communications profession by disseminating knowledge, sharing expertise, providing valuable programs, fostering leadership development and performing student outreach."

Our community will be recognized during the Leadership Program (on Sunday, May 20) at the 2018 Summit in Orlando, FL. At that time, we will receive our CAA certificate.

In addition, we encourage all our community members to attend the Honors Event (on Wednesday, May 23, at 11:15 am), as the Community of the Year and Most Improved Community will be announced during that time. There will be a photographer at both the Leadership Program and Honors Event; following the Honors Event will be the best time for a group picture.

Congratulations and many thanks to our SIG leaders, and to ALL members of the Instructional Design & Learning SIG!  This award belongs to all of you. We wouldn't have a SIG without you!

We had a blast at #STC17!

We had a blast at #STC17!

Here are a  few photos of our adventures. Photos by Jason Dixson and more are available on the STC Office Flickr site.

Want to see the slides from our face to face meeting? We have them posted.

Slides from our #STC17 IDL SIG meeting

We had a blast at the #STC17 Summit. Here are slides from our meeting.

stc-idl-sig-2017 Business Meeting Presentation