TechComm 101

INSTRUCTORS:

Leah Guren
Presenter

Categories

Online Courses

TechComm 101

24 January – 7 March 2017 (Tuesdays) | 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EST (GMT -5)

Technical communication is an exciting and challenging career that offers unlimited opportunity for professional development. But to succeed, it’s not enough to learn a desktop publishing or Help authoring tool—you need to master the analysis process. This is a thinking person’s dream career!

TechComm 101 is the fastest, most efficient way to jump-start your career in technical communication. It covers key theory that you can immediately apply to your work, as well as giving you the skills you need to continue to learn and grow.

Each element of theory is presented with hands-on exercises, real-world examples, and plenty of discussion. The course is sure to leave you feeling enthusiastic and well prepared to get started in the field.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the role of the technical communicator.
  • Identify how TC writing differs from other kinds of writing.
  • Correct common mistakes in writing.
  • Master the correct writing style for TC.
  • Be able to target your audience.
  • Recognize and treat hazards in documentation.
  • Learn and apply key theory for TC work.
  • Write effective definitions and procedures.
  • Develop visual design skills.
  • Identify the purpose and key elements of main TC documentation types.

Intended Audience

  • Anyone new to the field.
  • Anyone working in the field without formal training.
  • Professionals returning to writing positions after a hiatus.

Session Descriptions

This session will provide an overview of the role of technical communicators in a company. Learn how technical communication differs from other forms of writing. Discover how to avoid mistakes, such as grammar and punctuation issues, that can detract from documentation.

The following four key concepts to technical communication will be covered:

  • Know Your Audience: Conducting audience analysis and key techniques for discovering your target audience.
  • Highlight Hazards: Protecting users and the company through effective cautions and warnings.
  • Break It Out: Using design and layout to help communicate information in a document.
  • Don’t Write Blind: Learning to ask the right questions and analyze information; learning the product and process yourself.

The following five key concepts to technical communication will be covered:

  • Be Consistent: Understanding how consistency helps users follow documentation more easily.
  • Signpost: Making information accessible within the document.
  • Don’t Violate Standards: Analyzing standards and applying them.
  • Contemplate Before You Illustrate: Adding graphics that help rather than confuse; a review of the basic rules.
  • Cut the Fluff: Trimming the unnecessary words out of documents to make them more useful.

Understand the functional purpose, key elements, and deliverables associated with the most common types of TC projects: user guides, installation guides, maintenance manuals, reference manuals, tutorials, specs, white papers, release notes, and online Help. Learning how to define technical terms is important.

In this session you will learn how to write task-based documentation (step-by-step procedures), which is an essential core skill.

Design good documents by understanding the basics of layout: fonts, paragraphs, white space, chunking, plumb lines, and visual hierarchies, nesting, and mating.

Discover how to write with clarity, avoid ambiguity, and be proactive in flagging suspicious data to produce better documents. This session will assist in the preparation for an ongoing learning experience in your new career.

Bio:

Leah Guren entered the field of technical communication in 1980. Her experience as a writer, editor, tech pubs manager, and consultant allowed her to develop a variety of technical communication training programs. Leah trains new writers for this field, as well as conducting seminars and in-house training for TCs of all levels, engineers, and managers. Her clients include many of the top high-tech companies in Israel.

Leah is best known for her ability to bring dry theory to life, illustrating rules with real-life examples and providing a clear, practical guidelines which can be applied by writers of all levels and experience. Leah is an STC Fellow and a regular speaker at STC and other international technical communication conferences. For more information, see Cow TC (www.cowtc.com) or contact Leah (leah@cowtc.com).

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