There’s room for you

STC is a big organization that depends on volunteers for its success. We need volunteers like you. Here are a few things you can do to get started.

  • Attend events in person and on line
  • Volunteer for essential jobs that are simple to do
  • Share what you know
  • Learn what others share and laugh at their jokes
  • Spread the good news of technical communication in your world

This is where I talk about how easy it is to get started as a volunteer for STC. There are as many little and big jobs for which we need volunteers as there are people who need a place to plug in. You could volunteer to hand out name tags at an event. You could volunteer to spread the good news on social media. You could submit a proposal for a presentation of one of your #TechComm super-powers.

Or you could just attend an event and meet the folks who are already volunteering. We need supportive participants as well as volunteers. Be sure to laugh at the jokes and smile at the presenters. And tweet photos of the presenters while you’re at it. You can get started just by showing up.

Find your closest chapter on the STC society website.

Find a SIG (special interest group) on the STC society website.

Slide10

I’d appreciate your support in the election. But more importantly, I want you to say “Yes” to STC. We need you.

Read all the posts, beginning January 5th and posting every other day, in my blog at https://viquidill.wordpress.com/

See all the slides on my slideshare account, http://www.slideshare.net/viqui_dill

You will have fun with STC

The best reason to get involved with STC is that it’s a lot of fun. Check out the photos of some of our WDCB chapter antics. Check out the photos of our 2014 summit by Rachel Houghton, Rick Lippincott, and the STC office, too.

Feel normal surrounded by fellow geeks

Surrounded by technical communicators, you will finally feel normal. If you’re like me, you feel a little too nerdy to be a writer and a little too creative to be purely technical. We have lively discussions about font choice and the oxford comma. We evaluate the visual impact of white space and wax nostalgic about the smell of a new book.

Join us and feel normal.

See #TechComm rock stars in the same awkward situations as you

If you’re like me, you put your professional leaders on a pedestal. In your mind, these folks have no flaws and no worries. But when you get to know them, you’ll find out that our #TechComm superstars are real people with the same interesting quirks as the rest of us. They are nervous before making a big presentation. They get frustrated with technical difficulties. They need to take a nap or relax with a drink after it’s over.

Come meet these folks and find out that there’s room in STC for quirky folks like you and me.

Bad karaoke is funny

Singing in public is funny when you do it with your STC friends. We have lots of photos to prove it.

Even good karaoke is funny. Check out this photo of Roger Renteria doing “Hollaback Girl” at the summit.

Slide9

I’d appreciate your support in the election. But more importantly, I want you to say “Yes” to STC. We need you.

Read all the posts, beginning January 5th and posting every other day, in my blog at https://viquidill.wordpress.com/

See all the slides on my slideshare account, http://www.slideshare.net/viqui_dill

You will benefit

Say “Yes” to STC because you will benefit.

Volunteering is good for you! Barrie Byron said it best in her #STC14 lightning talk. See her presentation on slideshare. Volunteering in your community is good for you.

And plugging in to STC is good for you, too. STC has great stuff.

  • Professional development
    • Tools
    • Soft skills, too
  • Networking
    • Experts
    • Contacts
    • Job leads

I am lucky enough to live near the Washington DC/Baltimore area. The WDCB STC chapter really kicks butt at professional opportunities. Check out the events page for our chapter to see what I mean.

WDCB STC has both face to face and online events. When I attend these events, I get to hang out with some of the superstars and rising leaders of #TechComm. By attending the programs, I have picked up new tools and tips for the tools I’m already using. We have partnerships with local techie groups like InfoDevDC and UXPA DC where I can pick up related skills for my toolbox.

By volunteering for STC, I get to learn from some of the best thought leaders, project managers, and writers in the business. Just by watching them coordinate programs and volunteers, I have picked up some great soft skills like setting priorities, delegating, empowering the super-powered, and letting go of the kryptonite.

I live about 80 miles from the metro area, which means it can take me up to 3 hours to get there in the heavy traffic. I consider the travel time part of my investment in my own professional growth.

Find your closest chapter on the STC society website.

Find a SIG (special interest group) on the STC society website.

And check out the job boards on the WDCB and STC websites. Both are great resources for job seekers, hiring managers, and for the rest of us who are just looking to make our own set of skills more marketable.

Slide8

I’d appreciate your support in the election. But more importantly, I want you to say “Yes” to STC. We need you.

Read all the posts, beginning January 5th and posting every other day, in my blog at https://viquidill.wordpress.com/

See all the slides on my slideshare account, http://www.slideshare.net/viqui_dill

You are generous

STC needs you because you are generous.

How do I know you are generous? I’ve been watching you online and I see that you love to share information.

  • I’ve read your chatty emails
  • I’ve seen your social media feeds
  • I’ve admired your #foodporn

I’ve read your chatty emails

One of the great benefits of being on the CAC (STC’s Community Affairs Committee) is being on the community leadership email distribution lists. These lists provide a forum for STC community presidents and SIG leaders to discuss the ins and outs of chapters and SIGs.

The discussions we post are robust and lively. We are clearly passionate about the profession, the society, and the future of #TechComm. I love to read through the threads and see what’s going on across the society. Or I should say I love to scan through the thread. Those long emails let me know that you love to share what you know.

Leaders ask questions, send answers, share experience, make recommendations, give encouragement, and hold lively conversations in these email threads. We are stronger together because we are in this together. You know that. You share what you know with your colleagues in the profession. You are generous.

I’ve seen your social media feeds

We are a socially active profession. We are on twitter, facebook, pinterest, linked in, and instagram. We love to share.

We follow the hashtags and have lively conversations there. We post and retweet on #STCorg, #TechComm, and #STCYY. Check these out if you have not yet seen them. Every time you retweet, like, comment, and repost, you generously reset the clock on the shared information, making it available to more of us in the profession.

And please connect with me on twitter, facebook, pinterest, linked in, and instagram. I would love to share with you.

I’ve admired your #foodporn

If only I could taste what you share. *sigh*

Slide7

I’d appreciate your support in the election. But more importantly, I want you to say “Yes” to STC. We need you.

Read all the posts, beginning January 5th and posting every other day, in my blog at https://viquidill.wordpress.com/

See all the slides on my slideshare account, http://www.slideshare.net/viqui_dill

You are smart

STC needs you because you are smart. You can explain hard things.

  • You understand technology
  • You understand people
  • You make technology understandable to people

Read Rick Lippincott’s article about explaining things in the STC’s Intercom from April 2014. Rick has a great take on how our technical writing skills set us up for a bright future.

You understand technology.

You speak geeksta. You speak API. You can read HTML, XML, and JavaScript. You can read a flat diagram and translate it into 3-D in your head.

Both sides of your brain are alive as you activate language, science, math, and visual design centers all at once to grasp the big picture.

Deep dives into the details and laser focus are easy for you because you are gifted with natural curiosity as you dig in, layer by layer.

Your depth and breadth are remarkable.

You understand people.

You really care about the folks for whom you write. You put a lot of time and energy into studying them.

I have seen you pull apart the analytics for your content. I have seen you pouring over eye-tracking heat diagrams. I have studied your wire frames that prove you can forecast user needs and priorities.

You know the difference in what people say and what they do.

You make technology understandable to people.

Somehow you are able to combine your love of technology with your love of people, and produce timely and targeted documentation that is both technical and understandable.

Good for you, Technical Communicator! You can do the impossible task of explaining hard things.

Slide6

I’d appreciate your support in the election. But more importantly, I want you to say “Yes” to STC. We need you, smarty-pants.

Read all the posts, beginning January 5th and posting every other day, in my blog at https://viquidill.wordpress.com/

See all the slides on my slideshare account, http://www.slideshare.net/viqui_dill

Remember to vote

Be eligible to vote

  • Pay your dues by 15 January 2015

Watch your email

  • Vote between 16 March and 06 April 2015

Join or renew on the STC.org website by January 15th to be eligible to vote.

Visit the STC Election webpage to learn more about the offices and candidates.

Watch your email for an invitation to vote and then cast your ballot in March.

Slide11

I’d appreciate your support in the election. But more importantly, I want you to say “Yes” to STC. We need you.

Read all the posts, beginning January 5th and posting every other day, in my blog at https://viquidill.wordpress.com/

See all the slides on my slideshare account, http://www.slideshare.net/viqui_dill

I want you to say “Yes”

Here are some good reasons to say “Yes” to STC. I will be discussing each of these in the next few blog posts. Stay tuned for more posts in the next few days.

I wrote an article about saying “Yes” for STC’s Intercom in June of 2014. Log in and check it out.

Slide5

I’d appreciate your support in the election. But more importantly, I want you to say “Yes” to STC. We need you.

Read all the posts, beginning January 5th and posting every other day, in my blog at https://viquidill.wordpress.com/

See all the slides on my slideshare account, http://www.slideshare.net/viqui_dill

I am a bass player at heart

Here are some functions of a bass player

  • Works comfortably behind the scenes
  • Keeps the groove together
  • Develops trust within the band that the chords and rhythm will be right and on time
  • Makes a place for the lead players to shine

Working comfortably behind the scenes

Not everybody should be up front. Some of us should stand in the back, helping the ones up front to shine. Bass players understand this. We stand near the kick drum, alert for cues from the drummer about tempo and dynamics. We keep our eyes open to read the body language of those up front.

Keeping the groove together

Groove. You either have it or you’re chasing it. Groove is about rhythm, dynamics, and tempo. The rhythm section (drums, bass, and any rhythm players) has to be together, solid, and in agreement. If the rhythm section wants to go faster than the bass player wants to go, a good player will just suck it up for the good of the groove.

Developing trust within the band

If the bass player plays the wrong note at the right time, or plays the right note at the wrong time, the groove falls apart. The bass player has to understand that his job is to play the right note, on the downbeat, before he can play any other notes of the chord on any other beat. Listeners will know that something is wrong in the song, even if they can’t name what it is. Dancers will lose their footing and maybe even sit back down. The other band members will lose their trust in the bass player.

Making a place for the leaders

Good bass players know their place. We are the canvas on which the best songs are painted. We are the dark soil from which good music is harvested. We are the groove from which the lead players can play the hot licks that allow them to shine.

Slide4

I’d appreciate your support in the election. But more importantly, I want you to say “Yes” to STC. We need you.

Read all the posts, beginning January 5th and posting every other day, in my blog at https://viquidill.wordpress.com/

See all the slides on my slideshare account, http://www.slideshare.net/viqui_dill

Legitimization through violence

Check out this thoughtful blog post by my son, Jim Dill.

James Dill's Public Opinions

I remember having a conversation with my mother where we discussed ISIS and what they were doing, specifically, them kidnapping news reporters and holding them for ransom. She asked me “should the government have ransomed those reporters?” I said no. she asked me “but what about the reporter?” I told her “to pay the ransom money would enable ISIS to go out and kidnap more reporters, ISIS wins. On the other hand, to try to break them out would be to acknowledge that ISIS is a threat worth responding to, ISIS wins. To fight them is to legitimize them so the worse thing the government could do to them is ignore them.”

I bring this up because something mildly interesting has recently been brought to my attention. Yet another cartoonist has been violently attacked by Islamic extremists. the extremists attacked newspaper Charlie Hebdo, killing 10 of the staff and…

View original post 172 more words

I am a #TechComm Evangelist

Here are some functions of an evangelist

  • Spreads the good news
  • Coaches community members to sharpen their skills
  • Cheers community members who are preparing the way

I am crazy about spreading good news.

Don’t ever tell me a secret that’s good news. I will want to announce your promotion, engagement, or baby immediately. It will eat me up inside that I know something happy and can’t share it. I will want to take photos and post on all my social media outlets right away.

I love to coach people who are just a few steps behind me on their journey.

If you’re new to the journey, let me encourage you to try out everything you can. Together we can find new fun things to explore, new fun people to meet, and new fun outlets to show off your work.

If you’ve been on the journey a little while, let me help you identify your superpowers. Then, I’ll encourage you to go use them. After you have figured out what works for you, there’s no reason to keep focusing on improving the weak spots. You can start using your strengths and get in your 10,000 hours toward being a virtuoso.

Rock stars don’t have to focus on their gardening. Ninjas don’t have to worry about their cooking. Other people can be gardeners and chefs. We’ll all be happiest when we let the ninjas be ninjas. In STC, we have lots of great talents. Let’s give you a place to express yours. Put away that kryptonite and fly.

I love to be a cheerleader for people who are showing the way.

It amazes me how many of us don’t know that we’re above average at things that come easily. Most people think that if something is easy for them, it must be easy for everyone, and therefore it’s not special.

That’s crazy talk. We need to think a new way and we need cheerleaders on the sidelines giving lots of encouragement.

And that’s what I want to do, you rock star, you. You are pretending that your superpower is common and easy. I want to help you see it as rare and valuable. And we both want you to find a place to use it.

Volunteer service does not have to be a burden or a drag if you’re already doing what you love. Let’s put our heads together and plug you in.

Slide3

I’d appreciate your support in the election. But more importantly, I want you to say “Yes” to STC. We need you.

Read all the posts, beginning January 5th and posting every other day, in my blog at https://viquidill.wordpress.com/

See all the slides on my slideshare account, http://www.slideshare.net/viqui_dill