Let's Tech Communicate

May 2018

Let's tech communicate

In this month’s issue of Let’s Tech Communicate, Katie decided to shake things up a little bit and share some of the webinars she has been listening to. Unfortunately, she got a bit carried away and filled the whole thing with them… oh well! As the great members of Monty Python say…

And now for something completely different…

Sometimes, I just plain get bored listening to the radio while I am working. At those times, I like to listen to webinars. Yes, I know that sounds nerdy. I am slowly working through the TechCommNZ webinar archive – and very much enjoyed tuning in to Shelly’s Māori Cultural Competency for technical communicators. If you didn’t get a chance to hear it, check out the review in this issue of TechCommWire.

I also receive a great many webinars from the Content Wrangler Community. You might remember the Content Wrangler, Scott Abel, from Collaborate 2017 . If you have an hour to fill, or like me you’ve grown bored of listening to the same top ten songs, why not listen to one of their free, one-hour webinars? All webinars are recorded, so you don’t need to work out which side of the dateline the presenters are speaking from – just click and play at your convenience. They are American, so occasionally you’ll have to ignore the cliché “brought to you by…” advertising spiel in the first few minutes. But otherwise, job’s a good’un.

Here are just a few I’ve listened to recently:

Office 365 As A Content Services Hub? Seriously!

I have heard many a technical writer bemoan the sad reality of having to work only with Microsoft Office. You may find it hard to believe, but if you have Office 365 in your organization, you have the perfect solution for delivering the right information to the right people, at the right time, in the right format and language – and on the device of their choosing. Find out why!

Documentation Leadership: Dealing with People Issues in Technical Documentation

Documentation leaders are knee-deep in technical communications issues, but rarely get help on the people side of the fence. If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Effectively managing technical writers and smart documentation teams requires leaders equipped to tackle an increasing variety of “people issues.” We’re here to help .

You might find that Collaborating for accessibility and Māori Cultural Competency for technical communicators, from the TechCommNZ archive, complement this one rather nicely.

Empower Your Team to Write with One Voice While Still Sounding Like Themselves

The trouble with companies is they're full of people, and people insist on having separate personalities and distinct voices. So, it's no wonder that issues of consistency and tone of voice creep into our conversations when we take an honest look at our content. Learn how to build a brand voice, and empower your content creators to succeed, without sacrificing the individuality of your team members.

If you enjoyed TechCommNZ’s Five levers for improving the performance of business writers, you’ll like this one.

Tracking and Controlling Technical Documentation Projects

Ten years ago, The Content Wrangler published details about a survey that found most documentation managers don’t use metrics as a performance measure. Has that changed? Have documentation managers stuck to their old, metric-less ways, or have they all become “quants” in 10 years’ time? Discover the connection between measurement and process design and learn valuable lessons that should help you avoid getting lost in the weeds of data- and cost-tracking .

Publishing DITA Content to a Chatbot

If you’re a technical writer, you’ve heard about DITA. If you haven’t, DITA stands for Darwin Information Typing Architecture. It is an XML-based, end-to-end architecture for authoring, producing, and delivering technical information. In Plain English: DITA is a way of writing and storing your content so you can manage it like an asset.

Grant’s last Let’s Tech Communicate awoke my interest in chatbots – and they’re a hot topic in tech comms right now. While chatbots still have a long way to go to be self-sufficient, if you build them on a base of structured content – like DITA – they can be a helpful content delivery tool. Check out Publishing DITA Content to a Chatbot.

While you’re here, have a look at Repurposing DITA Content for Microsoft Office Users as well. It’s a useful discussion, particularly if you’re working with teams who don’t have access to—or knowledge of—XML editing tools.

And since the creative writer in me enjoys the circularity, allow me to end on another gratuitous Monty Python reference…

Stop that! It’s very silly!

The end

Katie Haggath

Student Outreach Coordinator and Media and Communications Coordinator for TechCommNZ.