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This dovetails well with the "dumb blond" trick, which is one of my favorites. If I can't get information and have been rebuffed after repeated professional inquiries, I just make up some stuff , put in the company format, print it, and give it to them to review. The SME usually says "That's not how it works!." At which point, I smile sweetly and ask, "Could you please explain it to me?"
There's something about seeing it written down and printed out that seems to get tough SMEs to focus.
I once had a "looks at shoes" engineer who said he couldn't write at all. I was tasked to help him prepare a proposal. I emailed him one question at a time--he wrote fairly reasonable paragraphs that I edited and put into the document. When we got done, he said thank you, and I told him he had really written the whole thing. Huge smile!
On Jun 3, 2011, at 10:54 AM, Peter Sturgeon wrote:
> Hard to do all week long sometimes. Some SMEs will eventually bow to your incessant appearance in their cubicles. I find what works best is to ask fewer questions on a couple of trips, weave the answers into what feels coherent, then give them that to review.
>> Subject: Persistence in tech writing
>> Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2011 13:50:35 -0400
>> From: DGoldstein -at- riverainmedical -dot- com
>> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
>> Being *politely* persistent makes a huge difference in this line of
>> work. Kudos to that company for realizing it!
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