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STC TC Communicator
Published by the Twin Cities Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication
                                                                                                                                                               June 2016, Volume 2, Issue 7
June's STC TC Meeting
Seven Tips for SME Interviews 
with Michele Medved

Technical Communicators need superior interviewer skills to gather relevant and targeted content. This presentation will kick your interviewer skills up to the next level by sharing information from the eBook, Top 10 Skills for Interviewers: How to Ask the Right Questions to Create Targeted Learning Solutions. Read More...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Meal and networking 5:30 - 6:30 PM
Speaker's Web Presentation 6:30 - 7:30 PM

Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
Wilder Center/Community Services Center
451 Lexington Pkwy. N, Saint Paul, MN 55104

Free Parking               


Next Up: A Call for Volunteers and Leaders!

As part of STC TC's spring leadership drive, next week we will be sending you a detailed listing of the various roles and opportunities available for those interested in getting more involved in our Twin Cities local chapter of STC. 

When you receive the Spring drive notice, read through the committee and board descriptions and think about how you might like to join in. Let us know what you decide!

--Authors President Barbara Beresford and Intern Megan Reece


Wendy Barnhart Ross, MA, PMP         
May Meeting Recap

Promote Technical Communication in Your Organization 
with Wendy Ross

In this program, Wendy presented the program she gave at her place of work that explains how her Technical Communication team is seen and respected. She defined technical communication, explained her team's deliverables and services, and discussed their challenges, opportunities, and long-term goals.

It was really great to get an insider's view and her takeaway experience! Wendy's presentation is available on Slide Share

Tech Corner

The Role of the Technical Communicator: What We Do

by Lily Keire

The technical writer is the people’s interpreter. We think through how a non-technical person may think and act when encountering a new procedure or product. The technical writer then communicates just the information needed by this particular audience in order that they may complete the task at hand or use the product they need to use.

​If the writer does his or her job correctly, everyone benefits: the maker, the user, and all the other people whose lives are touched by each successful outcome in today’s let’s-do-this-now-world.

This requires communication skills, imagination, and a command of writing in a wide variety of styles, for very different audiences. The technical writer must be detail-oriented. There is no room for misinterpretation. In this job, that which is clear prevails, while that which is confusing is, well, never read or referenced.

How content is presented must not be a barrier to the user’s understanding; it must be readable, searchable, and structured with convention in mind so that it can be easily recognized and quickly consumed. The text must support user agency. We must not ask more of the reader than the minimum amount of time required to digest the needed information.

The user’s source of truth is a well-vetted text. That is the writer's goal. If the goal is met, the appreciative user is helped along their merry way, not stopped at the crossroads, unsure of how to proceed.


As represented above, a wide variety of technical writer activities are required to leave users appreciative, such as:
  • User needs testing and reporting
  • Product design or prototype development
  • Writing supporting content: manuals, operating or assembly instructions, quick guides, help topics, website content, how-to texts
  • Designing and creating labels, Instructions for Use, or other regulatory or compliance artifacts used in medical, service, or manufacturing industries  
  • Working with images or video to produce multi-media information resources
  • Managing or supporting Content Management Systems (CMS)
  • Revising content for the next release of a product, curriculum, or process
  • Gathering and acting on user feedback on published documents



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