A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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How Important Is It To Streamline Communication

Today's organizations must contend with increasingly complex communications environments that feature a wide array of communications methods. Employees, business partners, and customers communicate with one another through infinite combinations of phones, voice messaging, e-mail, fax, mobile clients, rich-media conferencing and other communication gadgets. One thing that is very important is proper communication. Whether you use the age-old snail mail or an email, the key to success lies in effective communication. One should get clear message as to what exactly is required or told by you. It is very important to streamline communication whether you are conversing in person or through an age-old snail mail, email or over the phone.

ArticleMuse (2007). Articles>Communication>Collaboration>Minimalism


How Natural Philosophers Can Cooperate: The Literary Technology of Coordinated Investigation in Joseph Priestley's History and Present State of Electricity (1767)   (PDF)

During scientific researchers' collaborations, authors draw on many extratextual resources (social, intellectual and empirical) which are deployed in their texts.

Bazerman, Charles. WAC Clearinghouse (1991). Articles>Scientific Communication>Collaboration


How Not to Be a Wallflower

For those of us in the field of technical writing who didn't come at this from a computer science background (raise your hand if you’re an English major), we’re often introduced to unfamiliar technologies and terminology at the start of a project. It’s understandable then that we'd want to keep quiet and stay on the sidelines until we better understand what the developers are discussing. I’d like to suggest that doing so will lengthen the ramp-up time, and...

Davidson, Ben. Carolina Communique (2014). Articles>Collaboration>Technical Writing>Agile


How Product Teams Benefit from Usability

Product teams can leverage usability in three simple ways. First, usability can disambiguate requirements. Second, it can push a product closer to perfection with a small investment. Finally, usability helps product teams inform the organization about potential and expected support issues.

Rhodes, John S. Apogee (2006). Articles>Usability>Collaboration


How Sharing Increases Innovation

I believe there is a strong tie between sharing and the ability to innovate. This post will walk you through the logic.

Chase, Robin. Shareable (2010). Articles>Collaboration


How Soon is Now?

One common complaint a lot of technical writers have is that they aren’t included early enough in lifecycle of a project. The downsides are that by the time work hits your desk you don’t have a full picture of who the customer is, why they want whatever it is you are building, and how they want it provided to them. All of which directly impacts the information being created.

McLean, Donna. One Man Writes (2009). Articles>Project Management>Technical Writing>Collaboration


How to Avoid Networking Faux Pas

It's no secret that networking is a key factor in career success. And failing to keep an active network can hinder your employment prospects if you suddenly find yourself in the job market with no contacts or references. As a professional communicator, you already know how important connections are. But a network must be continually nurtured, and you may be neglecting yours unintentionally. Here are 10 common networking mistakes and tips to avoid them

McDonald, Paul. Communication World Bulletin (2003). Articles>Collaboration>Community Building


How to Become a Value-Add Technical Communicator to Scientists, Engineers, and Technical Staff   (PDF)

At one time or another most technical communicators have had to work with scientific/technical professionals who were the authors of their own research projects or product documentation. As a group, engineers more so than scientists do not view writing documentation as a critical (though perhaps important) part of the product or their job description. The technical publications team in Motorola’s RISC Systems Engineering Division has adopted seven strategies developed by the author that will help get engineers, programmers, and other technical professionals clamoring for the services of technical communicators. This paper addresses these seven strategies.

LeVie, Donald S., Jr. STC Proceedings (1997). Articles>Collaboration>Engineering


How to Convince Others of the Importance of Documentation

If you've been a technical writer for long, chances are you've had to convince someone of the importance of documentation. It just comes with the territory. People often don't see the value of writing technical manuals. So how do you convince them?

HelpScribe (2008). Articles>Documentation>Collaboration


How to Convince Someone that You're Right

Can you change someone's mind about something? Really, this is important. To create almost anything significant, you've got to change someone's mind along the way. Convince the boss to sign off on a decision. Convince the team to adopt a new process. Convince the developer to implement a new design. And so on. There are two ways of convincing someone of something.

Hurst, Mark. Good Experience (2011). Articles>Rhetoric>Collaboration


How to Deliver Bad News to Customers

In order to be effective in the usability business, you have to face the fact that you'll have to deliver bad news. You have to talk about what's not working. You might have to bruise egos and make your client uncomfortable.

Rhodes, John S. Apogee. Careers>Consulting>Usability>Collaboration


How To Effectively Communicate With Developers

If you have ever worked with a developer or a development team, this article will probably strike close to home. As designers, we work with dozens of developers across the globe each year. Some of us are fortunate enough to find a gem; a developer that just gets it. A developer that you feel is on your same wavelength in terms of what needs to be accomplished with the user interface, and what it needs to happen. Most often, however, we find developers that we generally don’t see eye to eye with.

Scherf, Ryan. Smashing (2009). Articles>Collaboration>Programming>SMEs


How to Encourage Good Use of SharePoint

Many organizations are adopting Microsoft SharePoint as a content management system, and view it as a low-cost alternative to a high-end content management system. However, just because an organization has SharePoint, does not mean that everyone is aware it is available.

Dick, David J. Carolina Communique (2011). Articles>Content Management>Workplace>Collaboration


How To Get Fired

Much of today's news is bad, so much of it can adversely affect your career, and so much of it is maddeningly beyond your control. But there are things you can control, starting with your own behavior. Now more than ever, it's essential to ensure that idiosyncrasies and personal peccadillos don't undermine your career. Here are five cautionary tales of real CIOs whose tragic flaws did them in.

Pratt, Mary K. Computerworld (2009). Careers>Management>Workplace>Collaboration


How To Get More Out of Google Docs

Part of the appeal of Google's suite of web-based productivity applications is the integration between them -- Gmail can send events to Google Calendar, Calendar sends reminders and note to Gmail and so on. Lately Google has extended that integration to make working with Google Docs a little bit easier.

Wired (2009). Articles>Word Processing>Software>Collaboration


How to Get Out of a Slump, and Handle Pressure Situations Calmly

It turns out that you can get out of a slump or handle pressure situations comfortably by merely changing your facial expressions. I have been trying this over the past several days and have been completely stunned with what happens.

Johnson, Tom H. Tech Writer Voices (2008). Articles>Collaboration>Workplace


How to Get Someone to Answer Your Questions

Send the mail to the person or group of people, but rather than asking the question, state what you know is the wrong answer. “I think the way it works is Foo, right Bob?” You'll be amazed at how quickly someone will take the time to correct you, particularly if the question was aimed at more than one person, since it's an opportunity for that person to prove their knowledge in front of others (which is just human nature).

Lemson, K.C. KC on Exchange and Outlook (2008). Articles>Collaboration>SMEs


How to Get the Most Out of Conferences

Conferences are what you make of them. If you’re not sure why you’re going, or what you want to get out of the experience, you’re unlikely to get it. This essay gives one perspective on conferences, and how to make them more valuable and engaging experiences. I think in general professional conferences take a very conservative approach to training and education, and it demands that attendees take more responsibility for getting value from the experience than should be necessary.

Berkun, Scott. UIWeb (2003). Academic>Conferences>Collaboration


How to Get the Most Out of Conferences

Conferences are what you make of them. If you’re not sure why you’re going, or what you want to get out of the experience, you’re unlikely to get it. This essay gives one perspective on conferences, and how to make them more valuable and engaging experiences. I think in general professional conferences take a very conservative approach to training and education, and it demands that attendees take more responsibility for getting value from the experience than should be necessary.

Berkun, Scott. ScottBerkun.com (2003). Articles>Collaboration


How to Give and Receive Criticism

Good feedback is rare. It can take a long time to find people who know how to provide useful criticism, instead of simply telling you all the things they think are “wrong” with you or whatever you've made. A good critic spends as much energy describing what something is, as well as what it isn’t. Good criticism serves one purpose: to give the creator of the work more perspective and help them make their next set of choices. Bad criticism uses the opportunity provided by someone else’s work to make the critic feel smart, superior or better about themselves: things that have nothing to do with helping the recipient of the critique.

Berkun, Scott. ScottBerkun.com (2006). Articles>Collaboration


How To Identify and Deal With Different Types Of Clients

In business, being able to read people and quickly get a sense of who you’re dealing with is an invaluable skill. It turns your encounter with a client into an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the upcoming project and how it will need to be handled. It is one of the building blocks of a professional relationship. In today’s digital age, the arena has shifted to the Web, and the online office space that most freelancers inhabit limits personal interaction. Though sussing out a client’s personality via online communication is difficult, it still remains an invaluable tool in your arsenal.

Bowen, Robert. Smashing (2009). Careers>Consulting>Correspondence>Collaboration


How to Incorporate Twitter into Your Presentation

I’m growing tired of presentations that are little more than lectures, so I’m going to experiment with more user-led techniques like this. Unfortunately, available wi fi at chapter meetings or conferences with participants who have computers or mobile data devices is pretty rare. But if you do have the opportunity, definitely try incorporating Twitter, even if only for Q&A at the end of your presentation.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2009). Articles>Presentations>Collaboration>Social Networking


How to Manage Smart People

What follows is some advice for managers on how to manager people, especially talented people. I worked for nine years at Microsoft, sometimes managing projects, sometimes managing people, but always with a manager above me. I think I’m smart, but many of the people who have worked for me definitely were. Over the years I’ve experienced many mistakes and successes in both how I was managed, and how I managed others. There's no one way to manage people, but there are some approaches that I think most good managers share.

Berkun, Scott. ScottBerkun.com (2006). Careers>Management>Collaboration


How to Organize Educational Meetings for Community and Professional Organizations   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Successful meetings are the end result of a∆ careful planning process. To successfully organize an educational meeting for a community or professional organization, you need to follow a series of steps.

Carliner, Saul. Tieline (2007). Articles>Collaboration>Community Building>STC



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