Re: Trouble working with a SME

Subject: Re: Trouble working with a SME
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <sgallagher -at- EXPERSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 1996 14:05:06 -0800

At 09:37 AM 10/31/96 -0800, Melinda M. Carr wrote:
>The crux of the matter is that he likes to review the documentation (okay
>so far); make copious suggestions on technical matters, organization,
>word choice, writing style (sometimes annoying but still okay), almost
>all followed by exclamation points (definitely annoying but bearable);
>and receive an explanation for each suggestion that we do not implement
>(???). It has never been our standard practice to provide feedback to
>reviewers on why we don't take some suggestions.

I have, from time to time, run across reviewers who thought they were
more knowlegeable than I about how to present material. Here's a technique
I've used successfully.

Drag out all your old STC Journals, tech writing text books, Journal of
Tech Writing and Communication, and whatever else you have at hand.
Photocopy as much as you can find that relates to and supports the
decisions you've made in presenting the information. Walk up to the
reviewer, photocopies in hand, smile, and say something like, "I noticed
your comments on thus and so. Here's the current research on which I've
based my design decisions. If you have any questions after you've reviewed
this stuff <hand reviewer 2-inch stack of photocopies>, please let me
know. I'll be happy to clarify what you don't understand or discuss
whatever you don't agree with."

You can usually exit before the reviewer's mouth closes. The reviewer
will usually not read the stuff but will not question the decisions
you make in your area of expertise, either.


Sue Gallagher
sgallagher -at- expersoft -dot- com
-- The _Guide_ is definitive.
Reality is frequently inaccurate.

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