Networking

Hi everyone! Dualities are the best. You keep passing them – right/left. In a similar sort of way, networking plays on the ball and catcher theme. What do you think?

Life can be unfair.

If you’re like me, you always want to know the perspective of others. I try to emulate it using my ‘super sensory assumptions’, but that  doesn’t give perspective any justice. I just cannot circumvent the topic enough. I even wrote an elaborate letter to a stranger, expecting some sort of comeuppance for the amount of energy I divulged throughout the letter. I think that’s when I discovered my passion for technical writing, ironically by asking about what it is. So, returning to the main topic, I wrote a letter to Duncan Kent.

Mr. Kent is my good friend’s uncle and the firm founder/senior project manager at Duncan Kent & Associates Ltd., a technical documentation company based in Vancouver, BC, Canada. For the past 27 years, his company has guided and developed more than 300 manuals and technical publications. His team’s work and client list span many industries, from construction and project management to law enforcement and security.

I was inspired to write to him because of his company’s success. Or perhaps, more realistically, I wrote to him to feed my desire for positive constructive criticism…from anyone…someone…please.

My apologies for continuing to fall off of our topic. As I started planning (this elaborate letter you see), I wondered to myself, “Imagine if my client list was in the thousands?” I thought, I’m prepared to ride this wave, although I do not surf. This is much more important – to change the course of history vs learning how to write effectively. Alas, I tend to jump the gun, but that is only my proactive personality. The unfortunate thing is – when things don’t turn out, and especially because I rely so heavily on fate – I get extremely disappointed, saddened to say the least. I suppose I will be able to save the documents for a record of my process. Egad!

Let’s have a read –

Good morning Duncan,

Thank you for your time. I am excited to share a bit of my background with you and hope that this will be the beginning of a new adventure!

I have spent the past 8 years managing corporate accounts for the Medium and Enterprise-sized business market segments of Canada’s #1 telecommunications brand and wireless service provider, Bell Mobility. I write about 50 emails a day, corresponding with important decision-makers like billing analysts, IT coordinators, managers and/or executive directors.

Writing business emails has taught me how to approach language in a linear and logical manner, so that the complexities of the technologies and services we implement can be communicated to our clients with clarity and ease.

My passion for writing was originally theoretical (art school approach), but my role at Bell Mobility changed that. Now, making words make sense in a technical fashion has me completely converted, if not entirely fascinated by the precision of writing in and of itself.

I have achieved positive results in account management by:

  • Optimizing processes
  • Maximizing workplace efficiencies
  • Minimizing client expenditures through routine account management
  • Organizing & streamlining daily communications
  • Thinking critically
  • Taking proactive approaches to solving problems in writing
  • Building dependable & long lasting relationships with my team & clients

So here I am, graciously connecting to you thanks to your nephew, Chris Kent. I understand you must be very busy, but if possible, could I ask you some questions about technical writing? My goal is to determine if it is the right career for me and what steps I would need to take to get there.

Cheers,

Chona Fe Canlas

There is always a way to make things simpler.

*Note: I ended with that sentence and amazingly, I can see now that it is the beginning of my brand! 

The success of your pursuits can be measured infinitely. What will you cherish once your work is done? For myself, it is truly gaining the perspective of someone else with a different holistic experience. I am continually examining this philosophy, why not!

Technical Writing

Hi everyone! How technical can you be with creative content? This is a good question. Let’s start by looking at how we can define a technical writer.

A technical writer is an organized communicator for a company. They present the company in specific ways and focus on areas that require clear and succinct communication. They also work on creating and formatting material effectively to increase overall communication efficacy.

A technical writer for a communications company would be responsible for the below (and later on can assist with other areas like research, project management and customer advocacy):

  • Creating/formatting proprietary documents (i.e.: emails, meeting minutes, customer welcome packages, social media posts, blog and website content etc.)
  • Developing instructions, guidelines, training material, strategies and plans
  • Creating templates, marketing collateral, brochures, promotional materials, ads and presentations

Higher-level roles:

  • Writing contracts, proposals, RFPs, white papers, reports, feasibility studies and reviews
  • Acting as an interviewer, trainer, organizer, facilitator or mediator
  • Designing visual communications strategy, information graphics and/or data interpretation

Another advanced role is analytics (excerpt from Wikipedia):

The use of computer skills, mathematics and statistics, combined with descriptive techniques and predictive models to GAIN valuable knowledge from data. The discovery, interpretation, and communication of meaningful patterns in data; and the process of applying those patterns towards effective decision-making.

In other words, analytics can be understood as the connective tissue between data and effective decision-making, within an organization. A technical writer also observes and collects data from customers that suggests the product and/or customer experience can be changed or improved in a way that customers would prefer or benefit from.

So, technical writing can be used to enhance communication to a specific audience and can create simplicity from abstract or conceptual ideas. These specifications can improve user experience, time management, levels of customer satisfaction and other customer-centered metrics. 

Desirable traits of a technical writer: 

  • organized and able to optimize process
  • detailed and extremely focused
  • able to portray different styles and perspectives 
  • a leader and team motivator
  • easygoing and confident personality
  • insightful, intelligent and innovative
  • transparent, accurate and responsible

Blox. Communications would like to define technical writing as it specifically relates to creative entities. What traits (quality) and aspects (quantity) do you think would be important to creating a technical creative company?