From the President

June 2021

A smiling Katie Haggath, TechCommNZ President, standing on steps at a beach

Blimey, I blinked and two months had gone by. Would you believe, when I first sat down to write this article, I worried I wouldn’t have much to talk about?

I started by just making a list of things that had happened since last newsletter, and things the board have done, and things that are coming up…and before I knew it, I was cutting whole sections out of this article in order to keep it from becoming a novel!

There’s a lot in the pipeline, from ConferenceLite to the Plain English Awards, to student outreach and steps towards our 5-year strategy plan and its goals.

ConferenceLite planning

Planning for ConferenceLite is under way! We’re still working out the details and lining up the speakers, but here’s what we’ve got so far:

ConferenceLite will be a one-day mini-conference. You’ll get some speakers, lunch, and the AGM in the evening with drinks and nibbles.

It will be in Christchurch. Save the date for Sunday 3 October and start eyeballing flights!

We’re keeping costs all the way down! There won't be any free pens and notepads, but if the price has prevented you getting to our conferences before, this is the one to attend. We'll be bringing you all the best bits of a conference for a fraction of the time and expense.

If you’re interested in being a speaker or a sponsor, get in touch with our conference committee or just email me directly at!

Get your entries in to the Plain English Awards

Entries are open now for the Plain English Awards! Of course, we most want to see you enter Best Plain English Technical Communicator, but did you know you don’t have to enter a whole document?

If you just want to dip your toe into the waters, why not enter the Best Plain English Sentence Transformation?

To help you decide, check out our video TechCommNZ’s 10 reasons to enter the Plain English Awards.

ITX Conference and awards dinner

It’s been a weird post-COVID year and we haven’t been as involved with ITX as we have in the past. However, the ITX conference will be going ahead in July as a series of Innovation Days, albeit without a technical communication stream this year.

The Excellence in Technical Communication award will be awarded for the second time, judged by none other than our inaugural winner, Steve Moss.

Come along on 16 July to support our deserving nominees!

Student outreach update

The student outreach programme has been going for over 5 years now. In that time, we’ve become a regular attendee at career fairs around the country. Although we were forced to put a pin in it last year, new student co-ordinator Steph has taken the pause as an opportunity to refine our student-focused marketing and really solidify our long-term student outreach plan.

One of our biggest goals for the programme is to create and support opportunities for students to gain work experience.

We’ve all heard it said: “How can I get experience if I can’t get a job without experience?!”

We’ve got some ideas in the pipeline for students, including work experience on Committee / Board projects and a student-author newsletter spot.

I’m also delighted to see some of our corporate members reaching out to students. Streamliners attended the Canterbury University career fair earlier this year and have come away with several new technical writers in their team. I hope to see some of you at the next Christchurch branch event!

Strategy-plan check-in

In March, we presented the five-year strategy for TechCommNZ. This is the spot in the newsletter where I keep you notified of how it’s going so you know we’re actually doing it.

So, what have we been doing?

1. Relaunching the newsletter.

Well, I am writing this here and now, so that’s a check!

You might recall that our 2019 survey told us we were sending too. Many. Emails! We decided to go with a two-monthly newsletter instead and so far, the response has been positive.

The board are also refining our newsletter-writing process to spread the cognitive load of sourcing and writing content.

2. Building resilience

We’ve started close-to-home here, and by that I mean “with the Board”. We’ve established a buddy system to make sure:

  • If we lose a board member unexpectedly, for any reason, there’s still someone around who knows their job
  • Board members have more support with their role and their projects
  • When new people join the board, they have someone they can go to with questions!

3. Restarting the student outreach programme

Another tick! We all know I’m passionate about this one and I can talk about it for ages… but I won’t repeat myself. If you skipped down to this bit, scroll up and read our student outreach update!

Write for our newsletter!

We’d love to feature a guest-article from one of our members in every newsletter.

Can you think of something you do or use everyday that other technical communicators might find useful? How about a skill other technical writers don’t have, like editing videos or visual design? We’d love to hear about it in TechCommWire!

Need some convincing?

Writing for the newsletter is an excellent way to expand your skillset, add to your portfolio, and demonstrate your expertise. Plus, it looks good when you google yourself… and even better when your boss googles you!