RE: Training or conference?

Subject: RE: Training or conference?
From: "Deborah McNally" <dmcnally -at- windmill-intl -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2005 09:40:04 -0500

--- That's a sign of a good boss, imho, and one well worth cultivating
future. <g>---

I completely agree. He is a great boss who knows what people need and
how to help them get what they need.

I'm sure I would have been at the WritersUA conference next week if it
wasn't in Vegas. That one sounded perfect for me.

--- Well, you could come hear my talk next week in Nashua <g>. Details
how to get there: ---

I will definitely see about going to that. I work in Nashua and want to
find out more about STC as well.

Thanks for the great info.

Deb McNally
Help Desk Technician/Technical Writer

-----Original Message-----
From: Geoff Hart [mailto:ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca]
Sent: Friday, March 18, 2005 8:54 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com; Deborah McNally
Subject: Training or conference?

Deborah McNally wondered: <<My boss has offered to pay for me to go to
a conference or a training course to advance my skills as a technical
writer. Does anyone have a suggestion for the best course or

That's a sign of a good boss, imho, and one well worth cultivating in
future. <g>

The "best" conference is the one that helps you solve the most problems
or that gives you the most new ideas that relate to your job. Make a
list of the problems you're having at your workplace, the things that
frustrate you, and the things you'd like to do better, then arrange
them in order of priority. Now take a look at all the various available
conferences* and put a checkmark beside each of your problems that one
or more presentations at the conference addresses. The conference with
the most checkmarks at the top of your list wins.

* If you're an STC member, or know someone who is, pick up a copy of
their Intercom magazine; the last few pages list upcoming conferences
from a wide variety of organizations, and that's a great place to start
looking for conferences.

STC's annual conference ( probably has the
largest attendance of any in the world, so if talking to many other
people about your work is a priority, it's a great choice. (That's
arguably my favorite part of the conference.) It's also a good value
for the money compared with the cost of other conferences--though the
conference hotels are usually too expensive for my taste and I look
elsewhere--and it offers a wide range of topics.

The downside for this wide range is a dilution of the focus; the
coverage of any given topic tends to be shallower, and there tend to be
fewer "expert-level" sessions. I enjoy the conference greatly, but have
to say that it tends to be most effective as a training opportunity for
techwhirlers earlier in their career. (As writing and editing stem
manager this year, I tried to bump up the number of advanced topics,
but we can only present what the speakers who volunteer are prepared to
talk about.)

<<We are currently using RoboHelp 5X for our writing projects.>>

The conference that used to be called WinWriters (now WritersUA, is a well-respected conference that will
give you a much more focused and intensive training of Robo and other
online help ("user assistance", hence the new name) types of topics.
You can't beat this kind of conference for intensive training, but it's
pricey and I personally prefer a less narrowly focused conference. As a
generalist, I tend to burn out when all topics are overly narrowly

<<I'm located in New Hampshire if that helps narrow down the choices.>>

Well, you could come hear my talk next week in Nashua <g>. Details on
how to get there:

Looks like this STC chapter is a happening place, with lots of good
talks. Thus, they're a good place to visit regularly between
conferences for networking and education.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --
Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


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