Seven Things a Technical Communicator Should Never Say


Barbara Giammona
Sr. Manager Technical Publications & Communications Schneider Electric Process Automation


March 20, 2019 - 2:00 PM


March 20, 2019 - 3:00 PM

Seven Things a Technical Communicator Should Never Say

I have managed and mentored Technical Communicators for close to four decades. It’s a profession many of us fall into “by accident,” and some of us, knowing our skills and temperaments, choose “on purpose.” Regardless of how you got here, we all have some things in common:

(Here I have a list, but will solicit ideas interactively from the audience)

  • Tail of the dog – last part of every project
  • Understaffed
  • Role seen as clerical or easy – special skills not recognized
  • Not well funded – out of date tools, technologies
  • Not allowed to innovate
  • Seen as a needed cost that must be minimized
  • Subject to being offshored
  • Not strategically placed in our organization
  • Often not managed by the best managers

Because of these challenges of our profession, we can become victims, feel helpless, be afraid of change, get “stuck” in our careers because we don’t grow our professional and technical skills, and turn into the dreaded Whiners, the negative folks, the complainers.

Certainly, whining and complaining are not the characteristics of the rising star in the workplace.

With that in mind, I’d like to remind you of the seven things you should never say in the workplace:

The “Seven Things” are essentially:

  • That’s not my job
  • No one reads the manual, anyway
  • We’re just the Technical Communicators
  • But that’s the information they gave me
  • We’ve always/never done it that way
  • It must be perfect

(This came from my own original list and from a survey of a small random sampling of TC’s I’ve worked with over the years.  And for each “Don’t say this,” I will have a “But do say/do THIS.”  So, my message ends up being positive rather than negative.  I want this to be a fun and inspiring conversation.  I also plan to solicit a comment or two from the audience on each point, time permitting.)

Finally, I will recognize that it is dangerous to say “Never say NO.”  There are definitely things you should say NO to – but the important thing is to know how to politely, confidently, and positively, say NO when you are asked to do things that don’t advance the cause of your customers or your career.

After this session, you will:

  • Be inspired to go home and proudly wave the “Team Technical Communicator” flag in your organization because you will be freshly reminded of the value of what you contribute each day.
  • Be reinvigorated because not only will you hear what NOT to say, you will also hear what TO say to help advance your career and raise your professional status.
  • Be exhausted from laughing at yourself, your colleagues, and the realities of our day-to-day professional lives.

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