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Subject:Re: Did I screw up or what? From:"Staples, Lorrie" <Lorrie -dot- Staples -at- NEXTEL -dot- COM> Date:Fri, 27 Aug 1999 14:32:45 -0400
John Posada wrote:
I made a major mistake in dealing with one of the
developers for an application I'm documenting in HC
and online help, so I'm telling all of you so you can
avoid the same situation. What did I know...I'm only
on my third week!
This morning I had my second session with a developer
to discuss the changes to V2 of an app I'm working on.
After he showed me the component of the application
that he had written, I remarked that I was impressed
with how well it was implemented and how the user was
led through a series of complex screens in an
Geezzzz...you would have thought that nobody ever said
a nice word to him about his program. He turned from
the type of developer who answers with a one-word
replies into a chattering magpie. I only had an hour
to spend with him...there I am packing my case and
notebook and he's saying "Let me show you another
Beware....don't let this happen to you!
You're right! They are human, too. They carry around the same amount of
problems, insecurities & fears that we as fellow human beings all do. They
have mortgages to pay, credit card bills, children to raise, etc., many
things going on that we probably don't know anything about. Stroking an ego
can go a long way sometimes. I know, I know, some of them have big enough
egos already, but I believe honey will get you farther than vinegar.
It can't be done under "false pretense", though. You have to really mean
what you compliment, because if you don't, it will be found out eventually
and come back to haunt you!
Barry's idea of candy can take you far, too. I've used that VERY
successfully. I told this months ago on this list, but it bears repeating .
I've learned to keep a jar of candy on my desk & keep it full of a variety
"decent" candy that people like (Hershey's, Reese's, Tootsie Rolls, Jolly
Ranchers). It is worth the expense because it can be such an ice-breaker,
especially when you are a new, unknown technical writer. People will
invariably ask if they can have a piece (although you have to be sure &
offer when they're too shy . . . or bring the jar to a meeting! . . .).
That gives you a window of opportunity to open your mouth & find out
something about them. Eventually, the subject of what YOU do will come up .
. . maybe a few pieces of candy & days later. There's your chance to
showcase yourself to all kinds of people. It works!! Eventually they'll
need help with something, maybe even as small as help with Word or Excel,
I also make a point of getting to know lots of people's names, even though I
don't directly deal with them. If I run into them in the breakroom, I'll
break the ice & introduce myself, making a point of remembering their first
name and what group they are involved with. Then whenever I cross them in
the hall after that, I say hello with their name. It comes back around . .
. I couldn't tell you how many times later on I've wound up working some
project with them! You have to be genuine, though . . .
Thanks for the story, John. Your posts are usually most helpful &
oftentimes I find myself thinking, "Been there, done that!"
Have a great weekend!
Technical Writer, Lead
770/560-2636 (iDEN - wireless)