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I absolutely hate tools meetings -- they're like paying to
sit through an infomercial. Yuck! But tools are not only
easy to talk about, they're common ground. Writers from
software, hardware, and biotech industries all use pretty
much the same tools. So when a tools meeting is announced,
it catches the attention of a broad spectrum of the
membership, not just those who work in a specific industry.
I guess I qualify to speak on this subject as I am one of
the few STC presenters who has been intrepid (or foolhearty)
enough to bring highly technical and narrowly targetted
presentations to STC meetings or conferences. I've presented
my _how to write API docs_ sessions at conferences and local
meetings. At conferences, I'm almost always assured of a
large room and a full house, but at local meetings, the
attendance numbers always drop considerably when I speak.
And no, I don't take it personally <g>. I recognize that
my topic doesn't have the kind of broad-spectrum appeal that
_Using Photoshop with FrameMaker_ does.
So then it becomes a matter of economics... Get the cool
Adobe guy and fill the room; get the geeky technochick
and the room may start to echo. Figure that the local
chapter makes $X on each meeting attendee, which speaker
would you choose???
> Quoting TechComm Dood <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>:
> > So why the emphasis and draw to tools?
Quoting Bruce Byfield
> Because tools are easy to talk about and teach. They keep you focused on a
> particular topic.
> It's much harder to talk about concepts such as managing your time, or tactics
> for writing a procedure, or converting tech-writing to marketing purposes. These
> concepts are more complex. When you write about a tool, you can tell people
> specifically what to do to get a certain result. But when you talk about a
> tactic, you can only suggest the criteria for deciding when to use the tactic or
> how. Under these circumstances, specific suggestions are almost impossible.
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