RE: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer

Subject: RE: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer
From: "Janoff, Steven" <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>
To: "mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com" <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2016 22:49:07 +0000

But that pigeonholes you into being a communicator.

What I'm trying to get at is skills that might transcend that, but use pieces of what we know and can do from the foundation of our roles.

If you take your skills from the role, some of them, when combined in certain ways, can be used to attack problems at a much higher level.

And the end result might have nothing to do with communication.


On Tuesday, September 06, 2016 3:42 PM, mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com wrote:

I would explain the curse of knowledge.

Communication is about figuring out the right thing to say and the right way to say it to achieve a specific behavioral objective. That matters to just about everyone in business and certainly to a VP of anything. VPing is all about changing people's behavior, and communication is the number one way you go about it.

The curse of knowledge is why it is hard.


On Tuesday, September 6, 2016 6:19 PM, Janoff, Steven wrote:

Apologies if this has been dealt with before.

If you wanted to educate a VP, or someone from the C-suite, as to what "abstract" skills a Tech Writer has that could be applied to their own challenges, what would you list?

This is for the purpose of leveraging existing skills into the needs of a larger department.

I think these folks tend to think of writers as people who "write," and that's it -- if even that. Lot of examples lately of stereotyping as "making things look pretty," or just typing, or whatever.

For me the first things that come to mind are information architecture and the organizing of information. What comes to mind for you?

So if you're sitting talking with a VP and you want to think of how you could plug into his or her agenda, how would you characterize the highest level, most abstract version of your skills?

You wouldn't say things like, "I can write stuff for you," or "I can make your reports look pretty."

What would you say?



PS - This is *not* where you're sitting there trying to pitch yourself as a Technical Writer. What you're trying to do is pitch a way that you could approach one or more of their highest challenges for which you have skills that could be applied. Process improvement is an example, but not just Technical Writing process improvement or necessarily anything related to Tech Writing -- it's just that your skills as a Tech Writer, in some abstract form, at the highest level, might be able to be applied to their problem/challenge/opportunity, whatever you want to call it.

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Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: Janoff, Steven
RE: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: mbaker

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