Presentations

  • The following information is from Spectrum 2014, to give you an idea of sessions, speakers, and a schedule for the event.


     

    Keynote

    • We Are All Abbott and Costello, Spectrum 2014 Keynote
      We Are All Abbott and Costello, Spectrum 2014 Keynote Communicating to understanding. How hard can it be? Plenty hard, it turns out. Even seasoned technical communicators make assumptions that they don't know they're making, assumptions that interfere with getting their messages across. This talk includes examples, tips, and possibly, finally, the answer to the question, who is on first?

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    Speakers

    • Cognitive Science + Common Sense = Effective Presentations
      Cognitive Science + Common Sense = Effective Presentations Applying a unique blend of cognitive science and common sense, this seminar takes you on a journey that can improve every presentation you deliver, ultimately enhancing your ability to inform, influence and persuade others. You will learn (1) the importance of separating the spoken word from the written word to improve communication; (2) the value of applying universal principles of face-to-face communication to all challenges, not just presentations; (3) the importance of answering questions clearly, concisely and effectively. This workshop will appeal to all levels. Everyone has a need to

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    • Applying Adult Learning Principles at Work
      Applying Adult Learning Principles at Work This presentation focuses on Malcolm Knowles' six adult learning principles and how to use them to communicate more effectively in different workplace situations. Principles will be applicable to any sort of learning opportunity from making a presentation at a meeting to hands-on training and classroom settings. Novice audience

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    • Volunteering Your Way Up the Career Ladder
      Volunteering Your Way Up the Career Ladder Do you feel stuck in your current position? Have you doing the same job for the past few years? Do you think there are few opportunities available to advance your career? In this presentation, we will share experiences, examples, and recommendations on how active participation inside and outside your company can help you get the recognition, experience, and confidence you need to move onward and upward in your organization or career path. I will engage the audience with questions and encourage them to share ideas and personal experiences (to make the session more meaningf

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    • Communication Catalysts: Changing the World by Doing Our Jobs
      Communication Catalysts: Changing the World by Doing Our Jobs As technical communicators, we touch every product, process, and service on this planet (and off of it). Without us, governments would fall, inventors would have a hard time getting their products to users, and patients would die. In short, no product, process, or service would function very well. Yet, because our work is part of the infrastructure, we often don't hear about how we're doing until something goes wrong. Kit Brown-Hoekstra takes a look at how we can act as catalysts for positive change in the world, just by doing our jobs well. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines a catal

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    • A Boob Buddy's Guide to Breast Cancer
      A Boob Buddy’s Guide to Breast Cancer Breast cancer is not only a journey of diagnosis, treatment, and recovery; it is an opportunity to use technical communication skills to make a difference for yourself, the people around you, and the breast cancer patients yet to come. While most patients focus solely on surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, this session will show how a technical communicator expanded her focus to include analyzing procedures; reviewing documentation for content and format; and identifying inconsistencies, incorrect tone, unclear and missing information, and some missed proofreading opportunities. Usability te

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    • Wherefore XML? A Whimsical Look at the History of Markup Languages
      Wherefore XML? A Whimsical Look at the History of Markup Languages What do rally car racing, knights in shining particle accelerators, and the Godfather all have in common?  They are all complicit in the sordid affair that is the history of markup languages.  Well, maybe not exactly "sordid," but it is interesting!  Come one, come all, and be regaled with this colorful account of the birth of XML and its predecessors.  As the good doctor Carl Sagan once remarked, "You have to know the past to understand the present." Novice to expert, grognard to newb, all are welcome, ladies and dudes.

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    • Into the Fire: Crisis Communications Starts With Preparedness
      Into the Fire: Crisis Communications Starts With Preparedness When an emergency or disaster occurs, leaders (in any organization) seek to quickly put out the "fire" with whatever resources they have at their disposal. There are hundreds of strategies, mnemonics, best practices, and training courses available that seek to instruct us on the best ways to respond to a crisis, but few of them address the single most important element of crisis communications success: preparedness. When crisis communicators do not adequately prepare and take advantage of data and information to understand their audiences, it is akin to trying to extinguish a fire with gasolin

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    • Beyond the Manual: Writing for the Web
      Beyond the Manual: Writing for the Web Technical writing is no longer focused on writing documentation. Web pages, wikis and mobile applications are replacing manuals and online help. Creating the good content that is appropriate for your users is more important than ever. The basic principles of print and web writing may be the same, but you need to develop a distinctive voice and style as you create content for the digital world. Whether you’re looking to optimize your current web content, or creating your first wiki, you can write effectively for the web. After all, you already know how to create good content. Now learn how you

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    • Using Plain Language to Write Clearly and Simply
      Using Plain Language to Write Clearly and Simply Did you know that plain language can help people find information faster and understand it more accurately? Even when we understand the value of plain language, it’s easy to fall into bad writing habits. Find out how you can keep your content clear and appropriate for any audience in just 7 easy steps.

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    • Seeking Sunshine in Cloud Technology
      Seeking Sunshine in Cloud Technology Can we keep our way of “doing business as usual” forever or do we need to leverage online Cloud technology to accomplish our work? As technology changes, our profession must adapt and adopt to a wide variety of online technologies we may or may not have heard of. Learn how to plan, transition, and use Cloud technology to increase your productivity without fear of being washed out! Find out if your ROI (time, money, and skill set) is worth it to soar up into the Cloud. Join others who have found the silver lining by using the Cloud to keep our profession competitive and up to speed with the

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    • Myth Busters: Are Technical Communicators Introverts?
      Myth Busters: Are Technical Communicators Introverts? Busted! Technical communicators are not introverts and this lightning talk will show you what we truly are. Through interviews with colleagues on introversion and extraversion in our field, I set out to bust the myth that we, technical communicators, are introverts! These different personality types are healthy for us as a whole and this quick presentation can empower you in your career.

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    • Set Yourself Free - Freelancing in the New Paradigm
      Set Yourself Free – Freelancing in the New Paradigm The constantly changing workplace means that many tech writers and editors are thinking about going out on their own (or have to launch freelance businesses). It takes more than solid skill and experience in tech communications to succeed as a freelancer, though. Freelancing requires thinking in business terms as well as professionalism. This session will outline the pros and cons of freelancing, personality characteristics needed for success, set-up essentials, ways to find clients and projects, setting rates, coping with isolation, getting paid, benefiting from networking and more. Give your

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    • The Invisible Side of Tech Comm - Basics of Editing & Proofreading
      The Invisible Side of Tech Comm – Basics of Editing & Proofreading If you’re thinking about entering technical communications or want to expand your skillset to be more "hire-able" as an employee or a freelancer, and you have a sharp eye for grammar, spelling, punctuation, document flow and general usage, you may want to consider editing or proofreading. The editor or proofreader often makes the difference in whether a document is usable or becomes reality. Learn or refresh your knowledge of the essentials of editing and proofreading in this practical overview that is applicable to both freelance and in-house colleagues. Topics include necessary skills a

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    • Lickety-Split Learning
      Lickety-Split Learning As baby boomers retire, the world is facing a significant shortage of skilled workers. Organizations will be competing for the best talent from around the world with the aid of new technology. But these same organizations do not have the appetite or patience to transfer knowledge and skills at the same pace it has historically enjoyed. Month or weeklong training courses are not acceptable. Chief Learning Officer estimates “that 80 to 90% of  today’s training and learning activities are considered wasteful.” Just as we are seeing a trend in developing informational content in smaller bits,

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    • Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who Has the Best Brand of Them All?
      Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who Has the Best Brand of Them All? Whether you are a hiring manager, a marketer promoting products/services, or a job seeker looking for that next best opportunity, managing brand promise is a required professional skill for today’s world. How do you project your brand promise to the public? You need to know the message you want to project and be able to see how others perceive your brand. This presentation teaches how to:  define your brand promise, assess effectiveness with regard to your brand promise, and recommend a process to develop and improve your brand promise. You will explore various marketing models and how to use

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    • Creating and Managing Content-Heavy Localized Graphics for Multilingual Documentation
      Creating and Managing Content-Heavy Localized Graphics for Multilingual Documentation Have you ever worked with multilingual documents that required localized support graphics? How about software documentation and  product user manuals intended to be published in multiple languages with a localized user interface – but the manuals need to be released before the software strings are even embedded in the product? The technical communication team at Welch Allyn has encountered this exact problem, without an existing solution in place. Through a lot of trial-and-error, cooperation, research, frustration, tears and laughter, the team brainstormed solutions, ultimately developing &am

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    • Move in the Right Direction
      Move in the Right Direction Considering the song as a means of communication and source for inspiration. Audience-Everyone.

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    • The Information that Matters: Connecting Research, Content, and Understanding
      The Information that Matters: Connecting Research, Content, and Understanding In this workshop, you will learn how to determine whether your communications projects are going to meet the goals they were designed to achieve, impart the knowledge that your audience needs, and create the results you need to produce. The workshop will give you an opportunity to discuss your communications issues generically or anonymously via completed worksheets about your specific project issues. (You will not use the name of your company/client or any specific product names.) Based on the worksheet information gathered, Marilyn will help you take a consultant’s view of your communic

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    • Write Tight(er): A Time-Saving, Pain-Free Technique for Selling Yourself and Your Products Through Your Words
      Write Tight(er): A Time-Saving, Pain-Free Technique for Selling Yourself and Your Products Through Your Words We all want to create concise, compelling messages that win people over. But even the best writers use too many words, filler words that dull their messages and turn readers off. Who knows what opportunities you may have lost due to writing you didn’t even know was flabby. Marcia has perfected a time-saving, pain-free technique that you can use to eliminate filler words (and sentences and paragraphs) from any text. This technique takes the guesswork out of concise writing by showing you exactly what to look for. Once you’ve got this technique down, you’ve got it forever. You’ll know how

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    • We Are All Abbott and Costello, Spectrum 2014 Keynote
      We Are All Abbott and Costello, Spectrum 2014 Keynote Communicating to understanding. How hard can it be? Plenty hard, it turns out. Even seasoned technical communicators make assumptions that they don't know they're making, assumptions that interfere with getting their messages across. This talk includes examples, tips, and possibly, finally, the answer to the question, who is on first?

      Continue reading 

    • Tips and tricks to doing nothing (and getting paid for it)
      Tips and tricks to doing nothing (and getting paid for it) Be lazy . Learn to make due with less. Put in all the time and effort to do as little as possible to get the job done. Create the bare minimum. In this session Bernard will share tips and tricks to write less and deliver more. Reduce content, improve quality. See how. Examples of before/after will be shared. (note that while Bernard had the option to write up to 150 words he did less... and hopefully still got accepted to present) Audience--Anyone who wants to do less work. Novice, proficient, or expert is welcome.

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    • Adobe FrameMaker 12: Top enhancements and features
      Adobe FrameMaker 12: Top enhancements and features Five minutes to see what is new in FrameMaker 12! There is a lot packed into the new software, so trying to fit it all into a 5 minute talk is brutal. They say it can't be done. Likely, they are right. But really, what have you got to lose? Take 5 minutes, see an action packed session that explores core changes to the product, and leave feeling you just want to know more. Bernard will be available to answer your questions in more detail after the talk.

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    • A Date With DITA
      A Date With DITA This session is specially developed for Spectrum to provide attendees a chance to explore, at a high-level, the DITA standard and work to create tasks (and related concepts and references), manage content with maps, and publish from a true single-source to multiple outputs and formats.

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    • Communicating With Others - Research Says!
      Communicating With Others – Research Says! We all have our favorite way to communicate; some people like to pick up the phone, others walk down the hall, still others default to email. We all have our reasons, but what does research say is the best way to communicate with co-workers? It all depends on the topic and the audience, and this progression will cover a few common scenarios to help you communicate more effectively with your co-workers.

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    • Resumes - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
      Resumes – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Submitting a resume and cover letter for a position can be frustrating and stressful. This lightning talk will cover some of the good and bad things a hiring manager has seen while recently hiring for her editorial team.

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    • The New Way To Attract Opportunities and Why The Paper Resume is Dead
      The New Way To Attract Opportunities and Why The Paper Resume is Dead Your resume is no longer a static piece of paper. Advancements in technology and new hiring preferences enable you to create a real-time portfolio. In this presentation we'll look at several ways you to create a vibrant, visual representation of your career accomplishments which is sure to dazzle future hiring managers. * What is a social resume and how do you get one? * What is an infographic resume and how can you create one? * What other options do I have to create an online portfolio?

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    • A Techcomm Bestiary
      A Techcomm Bestiary A bestiary is an illustrated compendium of beasts, popular in the middle ages. Bestiaries introduced people to real and fantastical creatures that they would never encounter. This Lightning Talk provides a bestiary of techcomm practitioners, many of which you WILL encounter in the course of your career. Join me for an enjoyable look at today's techcomm beasts. Attendees will enjoy seeing to which beasts they and their colleagues are most similar. Note that any resemblance to actual techcomm practitioners is purely coincidental. No actual techcomm practitioners were harmed in the produc

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    • Design Usability Tests to Make and Communicate Solid Design Decisions
      Design Usability Tests to Make and Communicate Solid Design Decisions Usability Testing is an extremely exciting opportunity that connects us directly with our users. When done well and communicated properly, it is among the most productive activities that any team can conduct. Practitioners in a wide variety of roles benefit from well-executed usability testing.

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    • How To Write Well (Enough) To Keep Your Projects On Track
      How To Write Well (Enough) To Keep Your Projects On Track Why should technical communicators participate in project documentation? Very often, our unique perspective and overview of details equates to effective business analysis, which itself drives successful project management, as well as our practice in summarizing trends, pulling together knowledge from many different sources, and expressing complex ideas simply. Additionally, project management parallels content management; the recombination of different topics is a good model to keep reporting information current without having to maintain numerous documents in multiple locations. I've us

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    • Enhancing Collaboration Through the Documentation Process
      Enhancing Collaboration Through the Documentation Process Why discuss collaboration via documentation? Very often, team members are focused on completing their own individual tasks, and organization-wide documentation may be truncated except when immediate needs dictate that it be created. Technical communicators’ unique perspectives in overseeing operational, service, project, and proof of concept functions allows us to see channels for collaboration that may be hidden. Appropriate collaboration drives successful documentation processes, better operational and service management, and permits more robust support with less effort. I've use

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    • Advancing Your Career in 12 Easy Steps
      Advancing Your Career in 12 Easy Steps Working through a step-by-step process In a workshop setting, Shenouda will guide young and mature adults from where they are to where they want to be in their career. Each step includes a brief scenario that introduces fictional friends whose success is intended to inspire and motivate. The activities within each step encourage self-exploration and discovery of an individual's interests, capabilities, values, and goals. Each step culminates in a Mad Lib (fill-in-the-blank) story in which participants create their own career success story. Using Shenouda's book, Career Success in 12 Eas

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    • So You Want to be Your Own Boss
      So You Want to be Your Own Boss While trapped in our cubicles playing the Gopher game, we've all fantasized about being our own boss. But, taking that step away from cubicle land toward hanging out our own shingle can be scary. And, it takes more than a laptop and a Starbucks frequent flyer card to be successful at your own business. Join us for a lively discussion about what it takes to set up and run your own consulting or freelancing business. We will talk about such topics as 5 people you need to know and love selling yourself without selling out loving your job without

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    • The Tipping point for TechDoc in the Digital Age and the Knowledge Organization
      The Tipping point for TechDoc in the Digital Age and the Knowledge Organization TechDoc is changing. Agile development has brought special needs and challenges. Books are dead or dying (depending on your industry). The world is one market, but speaks 200 languages. Social interaction and feedback are as relentless as they are essential. And to top it all off, documentation is 100% accessible on the web, meaning it is evaluated pre-sale; that's right today TechDoc is a sales function. TechDoc has never been more essential, and simultaneously, never more misunderstood. The shift is massive, it is the movement from TechDoc to the Knowledge Organization. The companies tha

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    • Future-proofing your tech comm content for the next “small” thing
      Future-proofing your tech comm content for the next “small” thing Multi-channel publishing targets are splitting into almost infinite screens and platforms, due to the rapidly expanding choice of phones, tablets and “phablets.” Smart wrist watches, Google glass and other wearable technologies are about to become feature-rich, affordable options. These trends, combined with massive doses of YouTube, Facebook and other social media feeds, have drastically reduced our target customers’ attention span. To further challenge our tech comm goals, PDF and even paper show no signs of disappearing anytime soon in government, legal and other key markets. Clearly, su

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