RE: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer

Subject: RE: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer
From: Ant Davey <ant -at- ant-davey -dot- com>
To: "Janoff, Steven" <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>, mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 7 Sep 2016 07:52:15 +0100 (BST)

But Steve, if you haven't got communication what have you got?

Communication in its many forms is central to:

Market research and analysis

Change management (internally and externally getting people to agree to
change thinking and behaviours)

Product development

Change management

Product testing

Change management

Developing specifications, tenders, business cases

Change management

Marketing, PR, advertising

And your replies suggest that your head is stuck in a software box.
Please look outside that too.

Ant

On 06 September 2016 at 23:49 "Janoff, Steven"
<Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com> wrote:
But that pigeonholes you into being a communicator.
What I'm trying to get at is skills that might transcend that, but
use pieces of what we know and can do from the foundation of our
roles.
If you take your skills from the role, some of them, when combined
in certain ways, can be used to attack problems at a much higher
level.
And the end result might have nothing to do with communication.
Steve
On Tuesday, September 06, 2016 3:42 PM, mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com wrote:
I would explain the curse of knowledge.
Communication is about figuring out the right thing to say and the
right way to say it to achieve a specific behavioral objective. That
matters to just about everyone in business and certainly to a VP of
anything. VPing is all about changing people's behavior, and
communication is the number one way you go about it.
The curse of knowledge is why it is hard.
Mark
On Tuesday, September 6, 2016 6:19 PM, Janoff, Steven wrote:
Apologies if this has been dealt with before.
If you wanted to educate a VP, or someone from the C-suite, as to
what "abstract" skills a Tech Writer has that could be applied to
their own challenges, what would you list?
This is for the purpose of leveraging existing skills into the needs
of a larger department.
I think these folks tend to think of writers as people who "write,"
and that's it -- if even that. Lot of examples lately of
stereotyping as "making things look pretty," or just typing, or
whatever.
For me the first things that come to mind are information
architecture and the organizing of information. What comes to mind
for you?
So if you're sitting talking with a VP and you want to think of how
you could plug into his or her agenda, how would you characterize
the highest level, most abstract version of your skills?
You wouldn't say things like, "I can write stuff for you," or "I can
make your reports look pretty."
What would you say?
Thanks,
Steve
PS - This is *not* where you're sitting there trying to pitch
yourself as a Technical Writer. What you're trying to do is pitch a
way that you could approach one or more of their highest challenges
for which you have skills that could be applied. Process improvement
is an example, but not just Technical Writing process improvement or
necessarily anything related to Tech Writing -- it's just that your
skills as a Tech Writer, in some abstract form, at the highest
level, might be able to be applied to their
problem/challenge/opportunity, whatever you want to call it.
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References:
Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: Janoff, Steven
RE: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: mbaker
RE: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: Janoff, Steven

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