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Participating in the STC Carolina Competitions: What's in it for You?
2010, Q2 (July 28, 2010)
By Sheila Loring, Senior Chapter Member

Our chapter (among other STC chapters) holds competitions in the fall. Technical communicators have the opportunity to submit their online communication (tutorials, help, and so on), technical art, and technical publications to get feedback from other technical communicators.

The chapter trains teams of judges to evaluate the entries. Each judge has a checklist of criteria and writes additional comments about the entries. The teams then decide whether each entry merits an award. The most distinguished entries compete locally for Best of Show and then compete at the international level.

Why Submit Your Work?

  • Do you crave constructive feedback on your work? Many technical communicators don't get objective opinions on the quality of their work. We attempt to improve our docs with every release but might not have a benchmark from which to work. The feedback and checklist of criteria can provide you with that benchmark.
  • Maybe you want an outside opinion on a change to the corporate style or template.
  • Winning an award impresses your manager, your manager's manager, and reflects well on the company.
  • If you are recognized with an award, you deserve it. Carolina chapter judges don't hand out awards just for submitting entries.
  • Last but not least, future employers take note of resumes from award-winning authors!

Why Judge?

  • During training, judges learn to evaluate entries on topics such as content and organization, copy editing, and visual design. New judges become familiar with the principles of sound technical documentation. All judges benefit by reviewing cutting-edge documentation and picking up tips for their own work. At times, judges also learn what doesn't work.
  • Judging is also a fun way to get to know other technical communicators and share stories about life on the documentation battleground. You might make some lasting friendships or rely on a fellow judge for a job referral.
  • Your decision to be a judge demonstrates dedication to career development. And the experience looks good on your resume!

To read about even more judge benefits, see Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Be a STC Carolina Judge.

The Final Celebration

The competitions season ends in the spring with the awards banquet. Submitters get to show off their entries, judges are recognized for their efforts, and the winners pick up their awards. Dinner, cocktails, door prizes, and a few laughs make for a fun time.

Are You Ready?

The call for judges and entries begins in August. Submitters, begin to think about which books or online communication you want feedback on. Judges, decide which category of entries you want to judge and contact the competitions manager at competitions at stc-carolina dot org.

For information on competitions, visit the Competitions home page.

For more information on becoming a judge, visit Judges' Corner.

For more information on submitting an entry, visit Submitters' Corner.

Sheila Loring can be reached at newsletter at stc-carolina dot org. End of article.

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