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President's Message
Published
2002, Q3 (March 04, 2007)

Vision Day Encourages Brainstorming to Make a Difference for STC Members

by Meredith Blackwelder

This years Vision Day produced great ideas for upcoming programs, training events, and our web site. On August 8, approximately 20 technical communicators gathered at Data Solutions to help shape the future of the chapter. After pizza and socializing, the attendees split into three workgroups: programs, web site, and training. After a 30-minute discussion session, the workgroup leaders summarized each workgroup's recommendations for the entire group.

The first group asked themselves what kinds of programs would appeal to members. Greg Berg, Programs Manager, led the group. Greg reported the following recommendations:
  • Offer topics that would go beyond the ways in which companies currently use technical writers.
  • Invite companies to explain their products and how they use technical writers. Provide information on writing tools that are truly useful (for employment) and who uses which tools.
  • Provide job skills.
  • Target programs to industries that are hiring.
  • Recognize the need for programs that appeal to experienced writers as well as less-experienced ones.
  • Hold a "SIG Night" at which all SIGs could be introduced to members.
  • Hold an "Open Mic" night at which members could talk about other kinds of writing that they enjoy, in addition to technical writing.

The second group, led by the training committee's manager, Frances Wirth, discussed the types of training we should provide. The group emphasized that STC training is not in competition with training companies, and Frances reported the following recommendations from her group:
  • Provide training in job skills, especially in the tools that are currently in demand; also provide introductory classes.
  • In the tools category, attach particular importance to tools for the web.
  • Investigate ways to address minimalism and quality assurance, which are topics of interest. However, these might be more appropriate as "Programs" recommendations.
  • Do not organize 2-day workshops, which create too many logistical problems.

The third group explored options for revamping our web site to improve its appeal. Webmaster Kim Flint provided information about the hit rates recorded for the most popular Carolina Chapter web pages. At the present time, the Jobs page is recording the most hits. Kim also reported the following
recommendations from the web-site workgroup:
  • Redesign the site to make it visually more attractive and "sticky."
  • Establish a design that is consistent with the newsletter design to create a strong brand image.
  • Make the next months calendar available.
  • Provide a more prominent link to the International Membership Directory.
  • Promote volunteer opportunities.
  • Further investigate ways to add value for members. For example, should the job listing pages be restricted to members only?

I plan to meet with committee managers and leaders to make sure these ideas are put into action. Our leaders are eager to use this feedback to make sure members get the most out of our chapter. Anyone interested in volunteering to help Greg with programs or Frances with training, should e-mail Greg at greg12berg at yahoo dot com or Frances at wirth at peoplepc dot com.

If you have any additional ideas or comments, please feel free to contact me and we can discuss them further. End of article.

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