Let's Tech Communicate

September 2018

Image of Katie Haggath leaning against a white wall and smiling.

Recently, our events and webinars have been focussing on making the most of your tech comm career, from climbing the career ladder, to transferring your ‘technically not technical writing’ skills to working in an agile environment. In fact, if there is one thing we know it’s that your tech comm career involves a lot more than just tech comms!

With that in mind, I’ve found myself drawn to articles centred around ways of working, from the how to the where to the why...

How are you working?

Put your technical writing know-how to work in marketing and contribute to your corporate blog, don’t try to get a toe in every pond – be the best in yours, and integrate conflict into your ‘joy work’. Here’s how you can be working smarter, not harder.

We’re writers, right? We should be writing, and not just technical documents. But what’s the right story for tech writers to tell in a corporate blog post ? When contributing to a corporate blog, the stories that get the most traction and approval are how-to stories about overcoming technology challenges. These stories are much the same ones that we tell in documentation. It’s technically not technical writing, but it's using all the same skills!

And speaking of using your skills… Peter Ross was watching one of those panel shows a couple of weeks ago and they were discussing one of everyone’s favourite things: pizza. Specifically, they were talking about the fact that one of our pizza chains in Australia, Eagle Boys, had gone into voluntary administration. They went on to discuss why this happened and got into the market share of all the pizza chains — things got really interesting at that point. Peter tells us how to be the best in your own little pond: how to use the example of Dominos Pizza to be a better writer.

Shift your mindset from burnout to joy, from focusing on deficits to celebrating assets. Creating and supporting joy in work doesn’t mean people aren’t allowed to express doubts, share concerns, or have a bad day. It doesn’t mean ignoring or avoiding conflict. Conflict is inevitable. I can’t envisage any group of people — much less a whole team or entire organization — that won’t at some point experience some disagreement or difference of opinion. What matters is how we choose to react to conflict. Here’s how to integrate conflict into your joy work .

Plus…Dr. Christiansen answers the questions you didn’t know you needed to know about writing and eLearning in his Webinar: Writing Much More Better . Don’t miss a trick.

Where are you working?

Where you work has a huge impact on the way you work…and what you get done.

It’s something of a cliché that all technical writers are introverts (we’re not, of course) but for those that are, I give you the Introvert’s guide to thriving in an open plan office . Although extroverts tend to get the lime light at work and introverts are often overlooked, introverts play a key role in business and are known to be creative and innovative. It’s a pity that they’re so misunderstood and that they’re often forced to operate in office environments designed for their more ebullient co-workers. If you are an ebullient co-worker and you’re also struggling to focus, I offer you Getting Sh*t done in an open office .

And then there are those mavericks that say “no” to the office altogether. With the development of the Internet, a big dilemma appeared that rings true for many office jobs, and, technical writing is one of them. At a point in time, not so long ago, thousands of people woke up, came to work, poured a cup of coffee, sat in front of the monitor, and a very unsettling thought came to them: can’t I just sit at home and do the same? So, Freelance or Full-time? Which is Better for Tech Writers?

Why are you working?

Technically speaking, technical writing is the opposite of writing technically . Have you ever read text that could put a person drowning in Red Bull to sleep and a complete lack of anything resembling creativity? Of course you have, that’s why you became a technical writer. Only a writer can teach a babyboomer to be a silver surfer. We’re goddamn heroes.

With thanks to Meredith Evans and Emma Harding for their LTC suggestions this month!