Monday kicked off with the opening keynote and general session. The keynote was presented by Carla Johnson, who discussed branding and the concept of “brand detachment disorder” that sets in when you think that your company could never use the ideas of the giant companies. Take Lego, for example. Lego makes simple plastic bricks. But they also have Lego-branded stores, movies, monthly Lego subscriptions (for both kids and adults), an online Lego news show, and a Lego TV series. Your company may not be able to do all of that, but you can borrow ideas from anywhere. Can’t afford a TV show? Try a monthly podcast for customers. Start small and build. It’s what every company has done. You can take ideas from anywhere to improve your brand, your team, and your work. Johnson’s presentation left me feeling like I really could suggest some “big ideas” at work and have a hope of getting them implemented.
On a personal note, I made a new friend at breakfast—a first-time Summit attendee from Austria named Elina. We discovered that neither of us had been to Orlando before and we were both extending our stay. We exchanged information to keep in touch and on Friday, we went to Kennedy Space Center together.
My first session was supposed to be Scoped Out by Sarah Kiniry, but the room was jam-packed (good for her, bad for me.) Instead, I snuck into the back of Ben Woelk’s The Introvert in the Workplace: Becoming an Influencer and Leader. This talk reiterated some of the points from the half-day workshop, and it also touched on methods to help you think on your feet and come up with responses on the fly—a skill that eludes many introverts.
After lunch (which I shared with the IDL SIG) I attended Aiessa Moyna’s session called, All I Know About Collaboration, I Learned from Rock and Roll. Moyna discussed how several famous bands and musicians made collaborations of various kinds work for them, and how technical communicators can use the same techniques to collaborate with co-workers, subject matter experts, management, and others in the workplace. Takeaways from this session were:
- Seek diverse perspectives
- Build trust / bust barriers
- Work your network
- Manage conflict
- When all else fails, improvise
The early afternoon session found me at Phylise Banner’s great presentation on LEML—Learning Environment Modeling Language. This new method of planning instructional design uses just five simple graphics to represent key concepts in instructional design—information, dialogue, practice, feedback, and evidence. By using the graphical language as shorthand for complex concepts, you can quickly see where you have bottlenecks in your instruction. Too much information? Not enough feedback? These problems are instantly clear when you use this method. I attended a webinar Banner gave a few months ago on this topic and her enthusiasm was (as usual) contagious. ILED has a good article and video on on Learning Environment Modeling, with a link on that page to download a LEML framework from the University of Central Oklahoma’s Institute for Learning Environment Design.
My last session of the day was Maria Flores’ Opportunities and Strategies for Writing for Cybersecurity Audiences. I had thought this session would be for those of us who are already writing in this field, but instead, Flores offered a great overview of how to get into the field in the first place, including which certifications are worth getting, and how to get your foot in the door of this growing field.
Monday evening concluded with a pub crawl hosted by the STC Florida chapter, which I was happy to miss in favor of attending my online Tech Comm Management class taught by fellow Summit attendee Pam Brewer. Despite my best efforts, she did not choose to host class from the hotel bar or the pool.