From 8-11 October, the world’s top medical communicators are going to AMWA’s 74th Annual Conference in Memphis, TN. Visit www.amwa.org and register now!  Through our partnership with AMWA, STC members can receive $100 off the non-AMWA member registration rate by using Promo Code: 2014SGP.

The conference program offers an outstanding educational experience and opportunities for writers and editors in a wide variety of fields—from health writers to continuing education writers to regulatory writers to publications professionals to scientific editors and beyond. No matter what type of writing or editing you do in the medical or health setting, the AMWA Annual Conference will help you move your career forward and achieve, and maintain, success in medical communication.

The conference is jam-packed with educational sessions, networking opportunities, award winners, and fun! You can review the full program in the registration brochure, the highlights in the program at a glance, the sessions by program track, and the workshops by their schedule. Your registration fee includes access to the exhibit hall, your choice of 48 open sessions, two General Sessions with award speakers, three evening receptions, two lunches, and one breakfast.

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Mentoring: Paying It Forward

by Marisa Seitz on 22 September 2014

Today’s post about the STC Mentor Board was written by STC’s President Kit Brown-Hoekstra.

Remember when you were just starting out in the field? Did you have someone (or several someones) who took the time to answer your questions, give you constructive feedback, or just encourage you to stretch yourself? If so, now is your opportunity to pay it forward.

We often hear about the value of receiving mentoring and of having a good mentor, but we don’t often hear about the value of being a mentor. What does the mentor get out of the relationship?

After all, mentoring, depending on the situation, takes time and energy from other volunteer or work activities. Yet, many mentors stay engaged with their mentees throughout their careers. In other cases, the mentee needs specific advice about a specific problem, so the relationship is shorter and more specific. [click to continue…]

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A Note from STC’s Summit Best of Show Winner

by Marisa Seitz on 19 September 2014

Today we have a guest post by Judy Wyrick to talk about her team’s experience winning STC’s 2013-14 International Summit Awards Best of Show.

The Biological and Environmental Research Information System (BERIS) team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is highly honored to have been named STC’s 2013-14 International Summit Awards Best of Show. Yet, we also acknowledge the nearly 25 years of valuable experience and guidance we have received from entering STC technical communication competitions at the chapter and international (if our entries were deemed worthy) levels. Participating in chapter competitions in East Tennessee, Washington DC–Baltimore, South Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Florida has provided us with a broad range of opinions and competitors in publications, art, and online formats. We very much appreciate the judges’ critiques and comments, and all of them have contributed to our receiving this ultimate award and recognition from our peers. [click to continue…]

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2015 Membership Is Now Open!

by Marisa Seitz on 17 September 2014

The 2015 STC membership season is now open! Renew your membership today and enjoy the benefits that make you a better technical communicator. New members, join now for 2015 and get the rest of 2014 free!

There are a few new things in 2015 that make membership even move valuable:

1. The SIG Value and Gold Education membership levels have been combined and become the Gold Value Package membership, with dues of $425 for the year. This option takes the previous Gold Education level and adds the option of membership in all STC Special Interest Groups—without raising the price! Gold members will be able to select membership in any and all desired SIGs now when they renew or join at this level. Gold membership still includes: one chapter, five free webinars, and half off of one online course. Gold members also receive Really Early Bird pricing for the 2015 Summit no matter when they register!

2. All Student memberships now include membership in the Academic SIG.

3. The limited-time Early Renewal Discount is for renewing members only. Only 2014 members will be able to save $30 on dues during the early renewal period. This brings a Classic membership down from $225 to $195, but you must renew early to get this discount! Use the Dues Discount Code in your membership email to save or email membership@stc.org for the code. Be sure to include your member ID.

And, of course, all memberships continue to receive the same great benefits you’ve come to expect from STC—online subscriptions to the award-winning Intercom and Technical Communication; access to the Salary Database; our library of over 140 free, on-demand, archived seminars; discounts from HP, LifeLock, Hertz, MadCap, Lenovo, InterCall, and others with our Affinity Program; significant price reductions on STC webinars, online courses, recorded sessions, and the annual Summit; a 14-day advance viewing on all jobs posted to the Job Bank; and networking opportunities across the globe.

So renew your STC membership or join today and be a part of your Society. Visit www.stc.org/membership for more information or email membership@stc.org with any questions. We look forward to a great 2015!

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Learn proven strategies for surviving and thriving as an independent consultant or small firm with the live Web seminar Winning Strategies for Independent Consultants, presented by Beth Gerber from 4:00-5:00 PM EDT (GMT-4) on Thursday, 18 September. This includes identifying consulting opportunities, networking effectively, making and closing deals, fostering long term relationships, and keeping your business profitable.

Attendees will gain practical tools for managing a consulting business whether you are a sole proprietor or have employees/subcontractors.  You will learn what is absolutely essential in running a small business or independent consultancy and what is not required.  Learn ways to manage a business when thriving as well as when times are lean and how to maintain success over the long term. This includes:

  • Assessing projects, bidding appropriately, managing expenses and bringing projects to a successful close.
  • Providing prospective clients with what they need to award you with an engagement over other competitors.
  • Developing prototypes, project plans and proposals.
  • Tracking projects, expenses, income and project scope.
  • Dealing with overruns and staying on budget and making money with every contract.
  • Dealing with partners and subcontractors and making sure that these relationships work for you.
  • Managing and building long term relationships with clients so that every engagement turns into a potential income stream.

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Breakdowns in communication between the expert and the novice interfere with achieving positive outcomes in all areas of human endeavor. Get advice on ways that technical communicators—and others—can close the chasm for the good of all.

Have you ever wondered why so much goes awry in communications and interactions between the expert and the novice? In this webinar, Close the Chasm Between the Expert and the Novice for the Good of All, presented by Judith Shenouda on Wednesday, 17 September, from 1:00-2:00 PM EDT (GMT-4), the presenter will share what she has learned about the expert-novice chasm and how it affects decision-making and problem-solving to the detriment of positive outcomes.

Participants will look at scenarios in Health and Wellness, Law and Justice, and Education; consider what causes the expert-novice gap; and think about how to close the gap. With improved communications and interactions between the expert and the novice, problematic outcomes can be transformed into favorable, positive ones in every realm of human endeavor for the good of all.

This webinar will cover:

  • The need to close the chasm between the expert and the novice when communicating, because so much can go awry and consequences may mean life or death
  • Characteristics of the expert and the novice that help explain the chasm—to the detriment of effective decision-making, problem-solving, and positive outcomes
  • Tools from technical communicators and others for closing the expert-novice chasm
  • Next steps toward forging better outcomes
  • Resources

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Guest post by Liz Herman

18 August 2014. There it was. Sitting in my email inbox. STC’s Call for Proposals for its annual Summit. How was it possible? I was still basking in the glow of the Summit in Phoenix, fondly remembering the dry heat, the networking, the plethora of informative sessions, the camaraderie of like-minded technical communicators, and my off-note karaoke singing at the TweetUp. I checked the inbox again. Yes, the message was still there. It was time to shake off the summer daydreaming and get to work on a proposal.

Fast forward to today. I am doing the Summit Topic Tango as I approach the 12 September deadline to submit a proposal. Are you? Perhaps you haven’t even stepped onto the dance floor yet, feeling as if you have no topic to offer. Whether you’re a new submitter or a seasoned submitter, identifying a topic is not an easy task. Here are some tips that you may find helpful when choosing your topic. These tips, of course, are presented to you in the spirit of the learning how to master the tango.

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Final Days to Save on Summit@aClick

by Kevin Cuddihy on 27 August 2014

If you haven’t purchased Summit@aClick yet, there are only a few more days left to save! The post-Summit sale has been extended, but it ends on Friday, 29 August. You must purchase by Friday for the best price on just about all the education you missed at the Summit.

Summit@aClick is top technical communication education on demand, a collection of online recordings of the 2014 Summit sessions with audio synched to PowerPoint (along with access to speaker materials when available). The Summit offered over 80 sessions, and Summit@aClick will include almost all of them! See the Summit program for the full list of sessions, with icons indicating which ones were recorded. You can also see a free sample session on the Summit@aClick website.

Now through 29 August STC members can purchase Summit@aClick at the discounted rate of $199! That gets you all the recorded sessions from the 2014 Summit and lets you learn from some of the top technical communication minds … all on your computer and on your schedule. Take advantage of these savings and order now! On 30 August, the price goes up to $249 for members.

To log in and purchase, use your preferred STC email address as your username and your last name as your password. This will verify you as an STC member and allow you to receive member pricing for Summit@aClick. (See the STC website for contact information if you’re having trouble logging in.)

Attendees receive access free with Summit registration. If you were a Summit attendee and did not receive an email with your log-in information, contact Elaine Gilliam.

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Eye for Editing: Do Not Edit …

by Paula Robertson on 26 August 2014

Just because you can. Please, do not mark something for an author to change just to prove your superior knowledge of seldom-used symbols.

You think I’m kidding? Good, because you wouldn’t do something like this, would you? In the throes of final review to meet a draft document deadline, please don’t waste the author’s time—the author who is already stressed and has worked many overtime hours to meet the deadline—by demanding revisions that no one but you will notice. Resist the urge to point out every tiny flaw that presents itself.

Because it’s just not important.

If you recall the work-related scenario that I described in my last post (Eye for Editing: Caught Between Two Edits), this scenario takes editing comments to a new extreme. In a situation last week, among many other things the team lead mentioned during two days of group review sessions, she pointed out that I had used quotation marks instead of inch symbols when I brought content into the master document. I was expected to change them on the spot while she and my colleague watched. Excuse me? How is this minutia the least bit relevant at this point? It’s as if someone was trying to prove something.

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Presentations can be an effective way to deliver complex information or tell a persuasive story. For example, you may find yourself in the position of convincing an executive to purchase an expensive content management system or reminding your boss how many different ways you add value to the company during your annual review. Telling your audience a convincing story is difficult enough without the handicap of boring, static, text-filled slides, and audiences have long suffered through endless PowerPoint slide decks. Once you discover Prezi’s ability to add meaning through proximity and visualize relationships through movement, you may never deliver another PowerPoint. Get started with the live Web seminar Wowing Your Audience with Prezi, presented by Michael Opsteegh on Tuesday, 26 August, from 1:00-2:00 PM EDT (GMT-4).

Attendees will benefit from this webinar in several practical ways:

  • Understand the difference between Prezi and other presentation platforms
  • Know how to sign up for the Prezi account that suits their needs
  • Understand the principles for planning a successful Prezi
  • Understand how to source appropriate graphics
  • Know how to place text and graphics on the Prezi canvas
  • Understand how to use proximity and movement effectively

This presentation will show Prezi in action.

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