STC has partnered with AIIP, the Association of Independent Information Professionals, to develop a joint recorded webinar series with entrepreneurs in mind. Drawing on the expertise from both associations, The Professional Development for Entrepreneurs webinar series gives practical advice and tips on how to branch out on your own.

This series of six webinars is available to both STC and AIIP members and is organized to help independent information professionals start and grow their own businesses. The webinars are grouped into categories including starting your business, tools for attracting clients, and tools for staying successful.

This collection is only the starting point of this collaboration, and more webinars will be added as they are developed. To learn more or take advantage of the webinar recordings, visit: http://aiip.org/AIIP-STC-webinars.

Still interested in learning more about owning your own business? Consider attending AIIP’s annual conference, where STC members can register at the AIIP member rate.

  • Check out the AIIP Conference Schedule http://aiip.org/Conference/Detailed-Schedule to see what the event is all about.
  • Read more about their featured speaker Bill Brewer, speaking on “Flawless Consulting”:
  • Register for a free informational webinar on 10 February to discover whether or not this conference is right for you.

STC and AIIP have a joint partnership agreement and will continue to offer joint services to benefit both memberships.

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One day while driving, I was looking down at my smartphone to tap the numbers to make a phone call. My attention to the road was only interrupted for a few seconds. When I looked up, I was too close for comfort to the car in front of me. I slowed down to let the car in front of me gain more distance. I was lucky, but the situation made me think about how smartphones affects our attention.

We are easily distracted when we drive because we have so much on our mind. There is a lot going on in our brain when we drive. For example, we must be attentive to pedestrians, other vehicles, speed of our vehicle, weather conditions, and road conditions to name a few. Regaining our concentration can take several seconds, which can mean the difference of being in control of the vehicle and not. Many people drive and use Smartphones to read email and view postings on social media. Why? I don’t know.

Human factors experts at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) conducted a study of how driver inattention leads to collisions. With support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Virginia Tech researchers tracked driver behavior in 100 vehicles equipped with video and sensor devices for one year. During that time, the vehicles traveled nearly 2 million miles and were involved in 69 crashes and 761 near-crashes. Researchers found that nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved driver inattention up to three seconds before the event.

A study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, suggests that hearing and vision share a limited neural capacity. Brain scans from 13 volunteers found that when they were given demanding visual tasks—quickly identifying symbols on the screen—at the same time as sounds, the brain response to sound was significantly reduced. Their ability to detect sounds also failed more often.

Today, cars are equipped with plenty of distractions: rear view cameras, onboard text messages, digital personal assistants, cell phone, satellite radio, GPS, and streaming Internet to broadcast television and movies to people seated in the backseat; however, using them while driving decreases attention to the road. Somebody thought that voice-activated commands would make it easier to use these technologies, but voice activated commands are just another thing to think about when driving. Give me the good old days, when a car with AM/FM radio and cassette player was cutting edge technology.

To learn more about how technologies make us more accident prone read Dangerous Distractions by Amy Novotney http://www.apa.org/monitor/2009/02/dangerous.aspx

To learn why looking at a screen might interfere with response to sound read Why Do Phones Cause Inattention Deafness? by Robert A. Lavine Ph.D. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/neuro-behavioral-betterment/201512/why-do-phones-cause-inattention-deafness

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Meet the Candidates – Liz Herman

by STC Staff on 28 January 2016

This entry is being posted on behalf of Liz Herman, candidate for Director in the 2016 STC election. More information about Liz can be found on her STC election page.


My name is Liz Herman and I would welcome your vote for Director on the STC Board. My story, in short, is that I see technical communication in everything that I do and have done in my 20 years of professional experience. I am an advocate for this wonderful, dynamic field of work. From teaching technical communication courses to serving the STC organization to managing large operational projects in multiple industries, I will bring scholar, member, and practitioner perspectives to this important position.

I often tell people that I fell into technical writing when starting my career writing response letters to U.S. Department of Education student loan borrowers. Of course, I didn’t realize this was technical communication at the time. After additional jobs writing user guides for higher education software and healthcare claims processing systems, I happily discovered STC, learned that I was doing something called technical communication, and realized I had found my professional home and my people. I haven’t looked back.

STC has offered me the opportunity to expand my network, present, teach, lead, volunteer, review books, and write articles and blog posts. As much as it has given me, I want to give back in order to make our organization viable well into the future. I know there are things we must improve related to retention, expansion, value, recognition, certification, event attendance, and member benefits. Those are just a few of the topics that are on my mind. What is most important is for me to learn what’s on your mind. I have big ears. Really. And if elected, I look forward to hearing what’s on your mind and how STC can continue to be your premiere professional organization.

For more information on my background and experience, please see my Election page on the STC website and click the Ballot Information link.

Thank you to the Nominating Committee for this tremendous honor.

Herman hats
Liz Herman presenting a lightning talk at the 2014 Summit titled “Perfecting the Technical Communicator’s Hat Trick: Why My Hair’s Messy.”

 


Voting for STC election starts 29 February and ends 9 March. Only members who have renewed their membership for 2016 by 1 February will be eligible to vote in this election. Click here to renew. Check out more about election candidates on the STC election site, or ask a question on the election forum.

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Meet the Candidates – Alisa Bonsignore

by STC Staff on 26 January 2016

This entry is being posted on behalf of Alisa Bonsignore, candidate for Director in the 2016 STC election. More information about Alisa can be found on her STC election page.


Hello STC members! I’d like to take a few moments to introduce myself as your candidate for Director for STC, where I will focus on the two issues that I believe are critical to our profession: education and professional development.

I am an independent contractor, having forged my own path for nearly a decade. My business name is Clarifying Complex Ideas, which is what all technical communicators do, day in and day out.

The majority of my career has been spent working with network security and healthcare companies, and with the rise of HIPAA, I discovered a new niche — healthcare IT. I see medical writing work as an area of specialization in the larger discipline of technical communication.

The role of technical communication is changing. When arrived in Silicon Valley 17 years ago, the communicators and content strategists (before such a thing had a name) were invisible cogs in the wheel, literally hidden away on separate floors or in separate buildings. But as the competitive landscape evolved, we have increasing opportunities to help our organizations realize that content is a valuable asset and not simply a cost center.

  • Where we once thought only of communicating with the customer/user, we now need to think about “selling” in the organization — advocating for the value of our departments, our work and ourselves.
  • New modes of content delivery require us to spread our professional wings, make strategic changes and try new approaches.
  • We need to create content that is accessible to all, clearly and concisely meeting the needs of both domestic clients and foreign markets.
  • And of course, we need to do it all faster and more efficiently than we did last year.

Education is very important to me. For the past two years, I have been Chair of the STC Education Advisory Panel, and I have served on the STC Conference Committee in preparation for the 2016 Summit in Anaheim. Prior to my service with STC, I chaired the New Educational Products committee for the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA).

Each year, I speak at a variety of professional conferences, including the STC Summit. Because I speak on topics that are important to independent communicators, I hear many personal stories in the Q&A or in the hallway after my session. As an increasing number of communicators shift to independent or small business arrangements, many find that their travel and education budgets are shrinking. I believe that it is critical to make distance learning opportunities or regional educational opportunities available to those who may not be able to afford the time or cost associated with annual conferences.

I want to be part of the STC board to increase the educational offerings for technical communicators near and far, new and experienced, and corporate and independent. I want to create opportunities that enhance the perception of our profession, as well as our value as individuals.

It would be my honor to represent you on the STC board. Thank you very much for your consideration, and I look forward to seeing you in Anaheim!


Voting for STC election starts 29 February and ends 9 March. Only members who have renewed their membership for 2016 by 1 February will be eligible to vote in this election. Click here to renew. Check out more about election candidates on the STC election site, or ask a question on the election forum.

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Meet the Candidates: Jackie Damrau

by STC Staff on 21 January 2016

This entry is being posted on behalf of Jackie Damrau, candidate for Secretary in the 2016 STC election. More information about Jackie can be found on her STC election page.


 

I’m honored to be a candidate for the position of STC Secretary on the 2016 STC ballot. STC is the organization that helped propel me in my career and through multiple career changes. I feel that technical communication plays a role in any job that requires writing.

My service to STC includes serving as the current Book Review Editor for the Technical Communication journal. I have also served on the Jay Gould Award (2015) and Frank R. Smith Award (2014) committees, as well as on the International Summit Committee (chair and judge), Leadership Committee Resource (chair), and Nominating Committee (elected member and chair).

At the local STC level, I am a past president of the North Texas Lone Star chapter, and I have also held many other positions within the chapter. My SIG involvement includes past Manager for the IDL and Management SIGs.

My honors include two Certificates of Appreciation (2010-2011); President’s Award (2009); Fellow (2008); and Associate Fellow (2006). I have also been instrumental in helping my communities receive Society-level awards (1998-present).

STC is the best source for technical communicators to continue to enhance their skills. It offers so much and continues to expand the envelope by reaching out socially to more members. With local chapters and SIGs struggling to keep members, the age of social media and Web technology is the place to find the most current information from our own peer network.

The November/December 2015 Intercom articles about the future of technical communication and our profession give food for thought to all of us. We need to build vibrancy and excitement in our association and, through our efforts,  make STC the best association it can be. As Secretary, my passion will be to help further STC’s mission to keep technical communication at the forefront of industry and to publicize the value that we add.

You can find more about me by visiting my section on the STC election website: http://www.stc.org//secretary/item/jackie-damrau

Thank you for your interest in STC. Please vote in the election for your future leaders. We are your voice.


 

Voting for STC election starts 29 February and ends 9 March. Only members who have renewed their membership for 2016 by 1 February will be eligible to vote in this election. Click here to renew. Check out more about election candidates on the STC election site, or ask a question on the election forum.

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Thank you to everyone who participated and recruited new members as a part of our “Join Us” Member-Get-A-Member Campaign. The campaign was a big success!

This program was a great way to reach out and share the good news of how STC benefits you as a member. Because of your recruitment efforts, over 70 new members joined STC in the past month!

We appreciate your support of STC!

 

The winners are

Beth Agnew

Tim Elliott

Russel Hirst

Heather King

Robert Perry

Kim Rosenlof

Dan Voss

 

Please continue to spread the word!  Stay tuned for our Communities Recruitment Race starting soon.

Best Regards,

 

Cheryl Signature

Cheryl Miller

Member Services Manager

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The STC Academic SIG is challenging STC student members to demonstrate their ability to clarify complex data sets and to exercise their creative talents. In 2016, the Academic SIG is changing its annual poster competition to an infographic competition. The challenge is to present  important aspects of the STC Salary Survey as an infographic.

Deadline for submission: 16 April 2016

Two winners will receive:

  • their work featured on the STC website and as a complement to the Salary Survey download
  • publication in Intercom, the STC’s award-wininng magazine
  • $250.00 in cash

For more details on the requirements and submissions: http://academicsig.org/student-information/student-poster-competition/

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Lisa Meloncon at meloncon@tek-ritr.com

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Post image for Who’s There for Communities? Steven Jong! Meet the CAC Team for 2015-2016

Community leaders will be glad to hear that once again, the STC Community Affairs Committee (CAC) has got their back in 2015-2016. If you need help, feel stuck, or just want ideas, look to the CAC as your connection to STC resources, Board of Directors, and staff.

Let’s introduce this year’s team so you can reach out.

Steven Jong

Leadership Webinars

Steven Jong

Our goal is to provide valuable information for community leaders and volunteers. Contact Steve if there’s something you’d like to know more about, or if you are interested in volunteering for a leadership webinar yourself.

Steve has knocked around STC for quite some time now. He’s an Associate Fellow and an active member of the New England Chapter and other communities. Steve is a former Director at Large of STC, a past president of the Boston (now New England) Chapter, a judge and best-of-show judge for both the chapter and the Society publications competitions (now the International Summit Awards), and the first chairman of the STC Certification Commission. He’s currently the managing editor of the STC New England News.

Steve has held a number of management, individual-contributor, and contract jobs in technical communication. Currently he works as a Senior Technical Communicator at Oracle, in Marlborough, Massachusetts, USA.

Steve earned an MS in Science Communication, and a BA in Physics and Astronomy, from Boston University. He lives in Westford, Massachusetts, USA, and participates in community chorus.
Connect with Steve on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stevefjong

The 2015-2016 STC CAC has got your back!
If you need help, or have a question or suggestion, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Community leaders will be glad to hear that once again, the STC Community Affairs Committee (CAC) has got their back in 2015-2016. If you need help, feel stuck, or just want ideas, look to the CAC as your connection to STC resources, Board of Directors, and staff.

Let’s introduce this year’s team so you can reach out.

Emily Alfson

Leadership Day Lead

Emily Alfson

Leadership Day 2016 will be packed full of information for new and current leaders. It will cover a wide variety of topics, including the basic requirements for communities, managing community finances, social media, and more!

Emily is Technical Writer and Knowledge Manager at MOTOR Information Systems in Troy, Michigan. She creates and manages API documentation and is responsible for knowledge and document management. Emily’s previous experience includes technical documentation for medical devices at Philips and hardware documentation for data centers at APC by Schneider Electric. Outside of the cubicle you will likely find Emily in a hot yoga studio or hiking a trail somewhere in Michigan.

Contact Emily if you are interested in volunteering for or attending Leadership Day.

Connect with Emily on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emilyalfson

The 2015-2016 STC CAC has got your back!
If you need help, or have a question or suggestion, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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You only have two days left to recruit and win. Why not share your commitment to advance the technical communication field by recruiting your colleagues to STC? You will be contributing to the development and growth of the profession. A growing STC means greater recognition for the field, more resources, more support for our members, and a larger network.

For every Classic, New TC Professional, Gold*, or Student* member you recruit, you will be entered to win one of the following prizes:

Recruit 1-2 members:

  • One of two $25 Amazon Gift Cards
  • STC Swag
  • Additional Chapter or SIG of your choice

Recruit 3-4 members:

  • LG Portable Mobile Pocket Photo Printer
  • One of twolive webinar registrations to the 2016 event of your choice

 Recruit 5 or more members:

  • Amazon Echo
  • 2016 upgraded Gold membership

*Each Gold member recruited will be considered two entries and each Student member you recruit will be considered  half an entry. Corporate Value Program members will not be considered for MGAM entry.

Visit the MGAM page for details and recruit someone today!

 

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