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The Challenges Technical Communicators Face


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The Challenges Technical Communicators Face will address many of the topics we face as
technical communicators.

Some of these topics will include:
•Distinguishing content from information
•Untimely or no inputs from Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) or developers
•Communicating with management
•Getting the right people to review your work for content
•Prioritization: Is less importance given to documentation?

Panelists are:
•Donn DeBoard, Senior Information Developer at Vertex, Inc.
•Todd DeLuca, Manager, Technical Communications at Black Knight Financial Services
•Timothy Esposito, Principal Technical Writer at Oracle

Each panelist will give a short presentation followed by a group discussion open for questions and answers.

Published in: Education
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The Challenges Technical Communicators Face

  1. 1. TheChallengesTechnical Communicators Face Karen Flam, Moderator Panelists: Donn DeBoard,Vertex, Inc. Todd DeLuca, Black Knight Financial Services Tim Esposito,Oracle
  2. 2. Agenda Introduction of Panelists Presentations Questions & Answers Group discussion
  3. 3. Donn DeBoard  We will first hear from Donn DeBoard Copyright 2014 Donn DeBoard 3
  4. 4. Challenges in technical communications Donn DeBoard STC-Philadelphia MetroChapter (PMC), February 19, 2014 PennsylvaniaState System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Center City Copyright 2014 Donn DeBoard 4
  5. 5. A technical communicator…  Simplifies complex, technical information for a customer.  Clear, concise, content is easy for the customer to use.  Your content enhances customer success with your product. Copyright 2014 Donn DeBoard 5
  6. 6. You know you’re a technical communicator when…  You have outdated or no product specifications.  Your SMEs are often unavailable or hard-to-reach.  You discover “undocumented”GUI or function changes in the product .  You develop and deliver draft content while the product is still being tested. Copyright 2014 Donn DeBoard 6
  7. 7. Agenda  Who are your customers?  Why don’t your customers read the documentation?  Do you speak your SMEs’ language?  Is your content portable?  What about innovation? Copyright 2014 Donn DeBoard 7
  8. 8. Who are your customers?  You are a customer advocate.  You are not your customer.  Engage customer-facing employees early and often.  Connecting to your customers is a foundational and ongoing effort. Copyright 2014 Donn DeBoard 8
  9. 9. Why don’t your customers read the documentation? Copyright 2014 Donn DeBoard 9  Customers want to perform a task, not read your content.  All content is not equal.  What is “the least your customer need to know” for success?  The right content in the right job context increases customer success.
  10. 10. Do you speak yourSMEs’ language?  Learn your SMEs’ language (IT, accounting, technology, or business).  Build high-trust relationships with your SMEs. SMEs can keep you aware of late product changes.  Keep your SMEs focused on the customer.  Show your SMEs how your efforts benefited the customer. Copyright 2014 Donn DeBoard 10
  11. 11. Is your content portable?  Content is an essential part of the product.  Do you have a tool to create and deliver content in multiple formats?  Do you have a strategy to manage your content?  Are you aware of emerging avenues for content delivery? Copyright 2014 Donn DeBoard 11
  12. 12. What about innovation?  Understand your customers’ needs.  Who are you innovating for: yourself or your customer?  Your idea should enhance your customers’ experience with your content.  Create a proof–of- concept for internal and selected customer review. Copyright 2014 Donn DeBoard 12
  13. 13. Todd DeLuca  We will next hear fromTodd DeLuca Copyright 2014 Donn DeBoard 13
  14. 14. Tim Esposito  We will next hear fromTim Esposito Copyright 2014 Donn DeBoard 14
  15. 15. Challenges Globalization Communication Prioritization Zombie Apocalypse
  16. 16. Globalization
  17. 17. Communication Source:
  18. 18. Prioritization
  19. 19. Tools to ObtainVictory!
  20. 20. Questions Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
  21. 21. Thanks for the conversation! Copyright 2014 Donn DeBoard 21
  22. 22. Let’s connect. Contact us with additional questions and comments. (Karen Flam) (Donn Deboard) (Todd DeLuca) (Tim Esposito) Copyright 2014 Donn DeBoard 22