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Articles

This page provides information of general interest to technical communicators and clients interested in topics related to technical communication.

About technical communicators

Skills improvement

  • Interviewing Skills for technical writers
    Excellent communication skills is often listed as a prerequisite for a position as a technical writer. This article provides tips for interviewing subject matter experts (SMEs), to gather information on a project or subject. The article was published in 2008 in the STC's Intercom.
  • Tips for Obtaining Effective Reviews
    Encouraging reviewers to respond to review requests can seem a daunting task. This article discusses useful techniques for obtaining the review you need. This article was published in the Spring 2008 edition of ISTC's Communicator.
  • Putting together a training course
    This article describes how to put together the documentation for a training course including presentations, workbooks, demos and tests. This article was published in the Spring 2009 edition of ISTC's Communicator.
  • Don't be a writer's writer
    A discussion by Roger Kirkham on the unnecessary complexity that tends to creep into writing style guides and how to avoid this.
  • Introduction to Adobe FramemakerRecommended!
    This article provides an introduction to using Adobe Framemaker. It includes a crib sheet of common FrameMaker tasks and a step-by-step guide for migrating your projects from MS Word to Framemaker.

Technology and trends

Legal

Career planning

  • Working as a Freelancer
    Discusses how to set up as a freelancer.
    This article was published in the Winter 2013 edition of ISTC's Communicator
  • Planning your career
    In order to work towards long-term career goals, it is important that you plan ahead. This article provides suggestions for planning your future career, by preparing a Road Map document.
  • Surviving the Ups and Downs
    What can we do to enhance our feeling of security in the workplace and survive the ups and downs of a changing economy? This article provides some suggestions.

Management

  • Managing complex and difficult projects    Recommended!
    A discussion on how to manage complex and difficult technical writing projects. View HTML version.
  • Guidelines For Producing Effective Documentation
    This article is intended for subject matter experts who need to work on documentation projects with a technical or marketing writer. The guidelines are intended to help both you and the writer in producing clear and easy to read documentation.
  • Fostering good team dynamics
    Discusses the theory and practise behind creating effective teams.
    This article was published in the Winter 2009 edition of ISTC's Communicator
  • Stress management for technical writers Part 1
    This article is based on a combination of job ratings, research findings and stress ratings from a survey conducted on a broad range of international technical writers. The article was published in 2002 on TECHWR-L.
  • Stress management for technical writers Part 2
    This follow-on article explores strategies technical writers use to cope with stress, including personal annecdotes from a range of international writers. The article was published in 2002 on TECHWR-L.
  • Tips for Effectively Managing your Time
    Inadequate organization of your time can lead to backlogs and delays, and affect the quality of your work. This article describes some strategies technical writers can use for effectively managing their time.
  • How to Keep Your Employees Happy
    A good manager realises that their writers are valuable assets. The following suggestions may help to make your technical writers happier in their jobs and keep them on longer.

Humour

  • Technical communication and the art of doodles
    WIKIPEDIA defines the doodle as 'an informal scribble or sketch' - in short, scribbling without intent and little thought. Technical communicators are ideally suited to doodles, with their eye for detail and ability to creativity combine words and images.