STC 2013 Summit Snippets

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Kurt Rogahn and Liz Herman at the STC 2013 Summit
Kurt Rogahn and Liz Herman at the STC 2013 Summit

Last month, I had the opportunity to attend STC’s 2013 Summit where I presented a progression titled Managing Technical Knowledge: Overcoming Roadblocks. A progression is similar to speed dating. I was located in a large room with 10 round tables each seating up to ten participants. There were presenters at each table with individual topics related to the overall subject of writing and editing. I had 20 minutes to present my topic and I repeated the presentation three times. Each time, a new group of attendees rotated to my table. Although I haven’t received my speaker evaluations yet, I think it was a success.

First, I want to thank STCEIC and those attending the April meeting for giving me feedback on my presentation. It was great to do a practice presentation in front of familiar faces. I took all the advice I was given. I ordered personal business cards because I was focused on building my own brand. I started tweeting on my Twitter account (@dr_herman) and finally published my personal website ( so that I could legitimately list those avenues as a way to connect. I bought chocolate candy to have on hand at my progression table. And I updated my handout, which you can see here:

Second, I want to thank Kurt Rogahn for attending my progression. There were so many excellent sessions to attend that I’m sure he must have skipped something to attend mine. Thanks, Kurt!

Speaking of excellent sessions, I’d like to share a few snippets from the Summit :

Leadership Day: Kurt and Charles Crawley asked if I would attend Leadership Day. I am glad I did. I discovered that other Chapters are in the same boat regarding membership retention and program planning. My takeaway was cross-pollination. Perhaps we can partner with another organization to hold a program in the future. I’m active in the Project Management Institute (PMI) Eastern Iowa Chapter and I think they would be interested in a program focused on writing and editing. I shared handouts from Leadership Day with our Chapter Leaders. If you would like a copy, please let me know.

Meet the Editors: This session allowed participants to meet the editors of several high profile technical communication journals including Technical Communication, IEEE, Business Communication Quarterly, and the Journal of Business Communication. The editors shared tips about getting published:

  • Guest edit an issue
  • Volunteer to be a journal reviewer
  • Write articles and submit them (yes, this is an obvious one, no?)
  • Submit book ideas
  • Be a book reviewer

Rejections are often due to bad research, terrible writing, lack of theoretical depth, and lack of fit with the journal. According to the editors, the bottom line is you need a thick skin to handle rejection and revision. Based on this session, however, I’m now preparing to do a book review for Technical Communication.

Tools: I have an idea to write a blog post titled I am not a Tool. Stay tuned for that! What I want to say about tools, however, is that I had no clue about some of the cool tools available now. Learning about new software and new tools was a great takeaway from the Summit. These may not be new to you, but I’m sharing a list of tools that I noted from various sessions:

  • Evernote:  Evernote makes it easy to remember things big and small from your everyday life using your computer, phone, tablet and the web.
  • Prezi: Prezi is a virtual whiteboard that transforms presentations from monologues into conversations: enabling people to see, understand, and remember ideas.
  • Audacity:  Audacity is a free, easy-to-use and multilingual audio editor and recorder. You can use Audacity to record live audio, convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs, edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files, cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together, and change the speed or pitch of a recording.

I attended a lot of other interesting sessions including Creating Learning that Lasts, Multiple Roads Lead to Knowledge Management, Planning and Creating Infographics, Personal Branding, and Every Page is Page One. If any of these topics are of interest to you, let me know, and I will try to locate slides and/or notes accompanying these sessions.

Thanks for letting me share these snippets from the Summit and thanks to STCEIC for your support!

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