Presentation Abstracts

Day 1

Keynote speaker - Shelly Davies: Lessons in Badassery

When people started asking Shelly how she became THIS Shelly, the one they see on a stage, owning a room, the one they see facilitating a group of resistant people to completely reframe and reposition themselves, the one who keeps getting up again and again even when life throws her suicidal, addicted, or just plain broken-hearted kids, grandchildren too soon, dead husbands or asshole exes, and ALL THE THINGS, she would answer them: I dunno, I’m just like everyone else. I’ve just learned some good shit.

So that's what she brings to this keynote: a small collection of just some of the good stuff that’s helped her to learn about and love herself and recognise that the power is in her. Lessons in badassery, you might say.

Katherine Barcham: Writing for the unknown

As writers, we need to know about our audience: what language they use, what they need or want from our content, and even how they’re likely to access it. Knowing this helps us tailor content for our audience. Well...what happens when we don't know about something that can affect how our audience understands or interacts with our content?

In this presentation, I want to talk about invisible disabilities. We’ll look at some examples of invisible disabilities and talk about what you can do to make your writing stand up to the test.

Valérie Genet-Guillou: Yoga part 1

Reconnect mind and body

Reconnect mind and body through gentle yoga moves, using your breath as a guide. Kick off your shoes for 30 minutes and learn simple self-care you can bring into your daily routine. No previous experience of yoga needed, just an open mind.

Session 1 (30 minutes): Yoga at your desk

We'll start with simple moves, seated on a chair, gently waking up the neck, shoulders, arms/wrists/fingers, even the back. We'll then move to a few full-body standing stretches. We'll conclude with a short guided relaxation.

Grant Mackenzie and Melissa Kearney: Don't mention the war

Grant and Melissa will jointly present a very light-hearted session on how to survive and thrive when the privately owned company for which you work is purchased by not one but two private equity firms and your head office is now based in Germany.

We say survival as we discovered that of the five hundred employees in the nine companies who comprise the Thinkproject group – we were the only two technical communicators. We needed to make sure that we were not just visible but indispensible.

Chris Dorsey: Software development lessons

Chris has been a technical writer for over thirty years. He has developed user and business documentation using Adobe PageMaker, Adobe FrameMaker, Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Word. About 18 months ago Chris had a change in role, which included taking on the maintenance of user documentation in Madcap Flare.
Authoring tools like Madcap Flare or Author-It take a very different approach to document creation. They are essentially content assembly tools, or compilers. Authors create content in small discrete blocks which are then assembled into documents according to predefined Tables of Contents by a discrete build or compile process.
The comparisons with the software development process are striking. So what can we learn from software developers?

In this presentation, Chris will talk about lessons we can learn from software developers, with examples from his own experiences over the last 18 months. While this presentation will primarily appeal to users of Madcap Flare, Author-It and similar tools, there are applications for Microsoft Word and FrameMaker users.

Presentation 4: TBA

Watch this space.

Swapnil Ogale: Online portfolio show and tell

What is the most important thing you do when you apply for a job? Is it the preparation? Is it research? No doubt all of those greatly help. I would add updating your portfolio to that list.

If you cannot sell yourself or your skills convincingly and coherently, chances are that someone with less experience but with an impressive portfolio is getting that gig. For years, I've relied on various methods to showcase my samples, my work and its relevance to a role.

In this talk, I will take you on a little journey of how I carried my portfolios (or rather, how they carried me), and then spend a good amount of time talking about online portfolios.


I intend to cover:

  • What is an online portfolio and why have one?
  • What should it contain? Ways of structuring your portfolio
  • Do's and dont's of an online portfolio
  • Overview of tools to build an online portfolio
  • Process of creating the portfolio (what and who is involved)
  • Getting the portfolio reviewed, and
  • Promoting your work showcase.


At the end of the session, the audience will:

  • Understand why it is important to have an online portfolio and what it contains,
  • Learn about some common tools used to build an online portfolio, and
  • How it will help your application stand out in a pool of applicants.

Day 2

Colleen Trolove: The Alchemy of Training

I’ve spent 13 years training professionals in how to write complex and technical content. This talk isn’t about my top writing tips for dealing with complexity, though — you’ll know those.

It’s about how to create a training experience that connects. Whether online or in a room, it’s about training that not only gives people better technical writing skills, but also inspires them to use those skills at work tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.

Why would this be relevant to you?

Do you ever help new staff, coach your colleagues, or run how-to sessions longer than 30 minutes? Do you contribute to material for in-person or online training? You’ll pick up tips to make your material far more interesting and effective.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Making the participants the hero of their own story
  • The power of showing them what’s possible, the power of relevance, and the power of being supportive
  • How to build people up from a basic piece of theory to using a skill themselves
  • Setting yourself up for success with an achievable number of goals
  • How to create a great group dynamic.

Jackie Thomas : UX design and writing for the web

If you’re a writer, you’re a designer.
This talk will explore the overlap between traditional writing processes and design methodologies. We’ll unpack what it means to design with language and how, as content designers, we hold the power to apply language to experiences in a meaningful way.

Valérie Genet-Guillou: Yoga part 2

Session 2 (30 minutes): Guided relaxation - Let the breath be your guide

The breath is the bridge between mind and body. Uniting breath and gentle movements, we'll learn to relax the body while quieting the mind chatter. Enjoy a moment of peace and serenity and let it flow into the rest of your day.

Grant Mackenzie: Twelve years in the making

For twelve years now, Grant has been enlightening and entertaining technical communicators both here and in Australia. This presentation will simply be a concatenation of the most entertaining items.

Abhay Chokshi: Unconference

"So much of life and work is overly structured that it doesn't give us, or our ideas, the room to run and grow freely".

Facilitated by Abhay Chokshi, Unconference is a collaborative experience intended to conjure learning out of thin air. It lives and dies on the collective wisdom of its participants.