Re: Value of Techwriters

Subject: Re: Value of Techwriters
From: Marcia Coulter <notjust -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 31 May 1995 19:44:55 -0700

Herman Holtz <holtz -at- PALTECH -dot- COM> wrote:

>For all who have considered how to explain to a skeptic the value of
>tech writing and tech writers, may I suggest that we apply a bit of
>simple and most basic marketing principles to the problem: Those
>principles sould tell us immediately that no amount of logic will
>persuade, convert, or even influence a skeptic....What is required to
>do the job, an emotional appeal.

Amen, brother. Let's hear it from the choir.

>In this case, I suggest explaining to that engineer that the true
>value of a technical writer is the sparing of that engineer's valuable
>time...That is a persuasive argument.

I use this tactic frequently -- and it works. Because I work under the
assumptions that:

(1) part of my job is to educate of the engineer, and

(2) that the engineer's intentions are good,

I usually modify the pitch just a bit by delivering the following

"Users deserve, and we want to provide a high-quality product...A
product this good deserves the support of high quality doc...You
(the engineer) haven't got time to provide the high quality doc
portion of the project."

I may not deliver the message all in one breath. But it's a theme that
I repeat in all our interactions. And it works, partly by putting us
both on the same side.

Marcia Coulter
notjust -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com

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