Re: Ideas for conference presentation?

Subject: Re: Ideas for conference presentation?
From: "Kat Nagel, MasterWork Consulting" <mlists -at- masterworkconsulting -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2003 09:55:00 -0500

At 3:23 PM -0700 2/12/03, ebarker -at- omiintl -dot- com wrote:

The software company where I work hosts an annual conference for its
clients to introduce the latest product changes, provide specialized
training, etc.

I've been asked to give a presentation on Technical Communications. This
is not a how-to class nor do they want to know how we do our jobs.

I'm having difficulty coming up with content that would justify their

Oooh, what a great opportunity!

You could call it "Pet Peeves" and ask them what irritates them about the product or the documentation--something that it does/has that they don't like or something it doesn't do/doesn't have that they want. Everybody has to submit at least one complaint in advance. You might also want to talk to the tech support folks about common problems and the solutions/workarounds they recommend.

Before the presentation, sort through the submitted complaints. If it's a missing feature issue, talk to the developers about feasibility. Does it fit with current development plans? If not, are there work-arounds? Ditto for existing feature usability issues. Are there plans for fixing the problem? If so, when? If not, why? If it's purely a doc issue, figure out a couple of alternative solutions yourself. Prepare a handout listing each issue and giving a brief description of the recommended solution.

On the day of the presentation, present the top X issues, the current recommendations for dealing with them, and have the group brainstorm alternatives.

At the end of the session, you should have material for:
A. A list of hot items for future feature development
B. A list of urgent usability issues for consideration in future versions
C. A list of doc issues (including documentation of suggested work-arounds for A. and B.) that you can start addressing ASAP.

Remember to remind your manager about A-C when it's time for your performance appraisal <g>.

Kat Nagel
Business: katnagel -at- masterworkconsulting -dot- com
Personal: katnagel -at- bluefrognet -dot- net


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