RE: them engineers

Subject: RE: them engineers
From: Jeff Hanvey <jewahe -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 22 May 2000 13:16:22 -0700 (PDT)

> Offering to take notes in a meeting is not selfless,
but simply a self-acceptance that you're just a
glorified secretary, and so deserve to be treated as
such outside the meeting as well.

I don't find this true at all.

We have to foster a cooperative attitude with our
SME's. The surest way to get cooperation is to offer
something worthwhile - and if that means I have to use
my expertise, then I'll use it.

I don't know about anyone else on this list, but I
consider myself a communications specialist...and that
means that I have no problems with *any* form of
communication, including note-taking.

In fact, taking notes is a big part of my job. I
always carry a pen and pad so that I can keep up with
what SME's tell me when I stop them in the hall or
drop by their cubicle.

I'd take notes if I were in that meeting anyway, so I
might as well share them, right?

Unlike a lot of tech writers who seem to get angry
when asked to compose letters, memos, et cetera, I
jump at the chance. It is an opportunity to showcase
my dazzling writing talent and impress the others <g>.

Seriously, though, my expertise is with using
language. If others need help, why not help them? Why
not pool our resources? How else will the job get
done. Besides, I've found that helping them with their
drafts and proofing their documents:

1. Increases my profile. The other people in the
department know who I am and what I do.
2. Increases their respect for me. Helping them makes
them realize that I am an expert with language (well,
mostly, anyway). Also, they have a reference in me,
and should be willing to use it, just like I use them
for a reference.

Also, notice I said *helping* - I make that person
ultimately responsible for his/her own documents. I
also don't use the slash-and-bleed method of "editing"
and phrase my corrections as "suggestions." That way,
they can *chose* to use them or not. Choosing not to
use a suggestion is no reflection on me.

Also, if I'm facing a deadline or extremely busy, I
let the person know that. I haven't had anyone respond
with a sigh-and-stomp-off attitude.

Use whatever cliche you want: I'll scratch your back
if you scratch mine, you catch more flies with honey
than with vinegar, et cetera. The bottom line is that
you have to give something to get something.

Just my $0.02.

Jeff Hanvey
Memphis, TN

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