Upcoming Program: Clear & Simple

Clear & Simple is a mindset—a way of doing business that keeps a focus on the customer in all the work we as communicators do. By using clear language and making simpler interactions, we can create experiences that are easy, useful, and enjoyable for users.

There are many facets of Clear & Simple, such as website usability, product design, marketing materials, payment and cost share, and more. Our speaker, Ed Lanigan from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM), will focus his presentation on applying the Clear & Simple principles to customer letters. Considering BCBSM sends over 10 million letters a year, it’s an important aspect of their business.

Please register by Tuesday, March 20, 2018.

When

  • Wednesday, March 21, 2018
  • 6:30 pm: Networking
  • 7 pm: Program

Continue reading “Upcoming Program: Clear & Simple”

Letter from the Immediate Past President

In late June, we held our annual awards program combined with the changing of the guard, the last event of our program year. The program took place at my home and included a potluck luncheon. Volunteers were recognized with a letter of appreciation and Pat Martz received the Distinguished Chapter Service Award. The gavel was passed to our new president, Alison Phillips, and I was presented with a personalized gavel.

We felt very good about our chapter’s accomplishments this year:

  • We revised our chapter bylaws.
  • We achieved the silver Community Achievement Award.
  • We mentored our intern, Sasha Strait.
  • We developed a program evaluation form to gather statistics from our programs.

We continued our practice of scheduling networking events in various locations:

  • Happy hour at D’Amato’s in Royal Oak
  • Holiday Mixer at Conor O’Neill’s in Ann Arbor
  • Breakfast at Sweetwater’s Café on Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor
  • Networking after the close of the Internet User Experience conference in Ann Arbor, and
  • Happy hour at Doc’s Sports Retreat in Livonia.

And we had some interesting program topics:

  • What Is the User’s Experience?, at BCBSM in Southfield
  • Mindfulness, at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor
  • Trends in Technical Communication, a panel discussion at Lawrence Tech in Southfield
  • Using Camtasia: A Video-Creation Tool for Documentation Professionals, at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make my term as president a success and so enjoyable. I am grateful that our chapter will be in Alison’s very capable hands, and I look forward to serving our chapter as Immediate Past President.

Networking Dinner in Livonia Coming Up

Please join us on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, from 5:30 p.m.–7:00 p.m. for a casual networking event at Doc’s Sports Retreat in Livonia.

Doc’s Sports Retreat
Address: 19265 Victor Pkwy, Livonia, MI 48152
Phone: (734) 542-8162
docssportretreat.com

RSVP by noon the day before: RSVP to Sharon McDonnell so we have enough seating reserved.

Meet other technical communicators or get reacquainted with those you already know. Feel free to bring a friend. (STC/SM membership is not a requirement to attend.) We are planning to discuss various conferences that we’ve attended lately:  the Summit in Washington, D.C., the IUE conference  in April at WCC, and the Spectrum conference in Rochester, NY in March.

There is no entrance fee, but everyone is responsible for his or her own dinner and drinks. When you arrive at Doc’s, ask the host to direct you to the STC/SM table. Hope to see you there!

Letter from the President

Fall into it

Most of us have returned from our summer vacations and some of us have returned to school (or have children or grandchildren who have returned to school). The days are busier and the weather more brisk. We’re thinking about Halloween costumes and parties. We’re getting into the last quarter of the year and for many of us, that means a lot more work.

I love the Fall colors and the ability to open the doors and windows and let the fresh air in. Our chapter is also trying to breathe some fresh air into our programs and networking events. In September, we presented a program about the user’s experience along with a case study of usability testing performed for a BCBSM project. The program was held at BCBSM’s Omni Building in Southfield, was attended by 10 people and was well received.koo Continue reading “Letter from the President”

Letter From the President

Welcome back! I hope your summer has been fun and relaxing. I spent most of mine recovering from my auto accident and doing my physical therapy to return to something resembling normal activity.

While I was home recuperating, I began to research which volunteer positions still needed to be filled for the upcoming year. I got a current membership list and started calling people to let them know I am their new president, that we would like to have some ideas for program topics and locations, and that we have several opportunities to volunteer and help out the chapter.

Volunteering

Contact anyone on the Council if you would like to volunteer to host a program, write a blog post, greet guests at an event, or take on a council position. There are plenty of ways to help out and not many of them take a commitment of a lot of time. If you are just starting out in this business, you can gain some useful experience for your resume!

Networking

Membership and attendance at meetings and programs have other benefits as well. Job seekers can attend and let the rest of us know that you’re in the market for a job. Employers can attend and announce your openings and talk to candidates. Attendees should always bring several business cards for that purpose. Job openings are also posted on the listserv. If you don’t know how to post a job opening or if you don’t know how to join the listserv, we’ll have someone available to tell you how do to that.

Looking Ahead

Keep your eyes peeled for announcements through this blog and the Upcoming Events Calendar; and the listserv and social media for programs, networking events, and Council meetings (which are open to all members). Here is what we have planned for the 2016–17 program year:

  • September: Usability Testing/User Experience. BCBSM at Omni Bldg, Southfield
  • October: Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor. Topic to be determined
  • November: Networking Happy Hour, northern suburbs or midtown Detroit
  • December: Holiday mixer, Ann Arbor
  • January: Virtual Tech Comm Showcase
  • February: Online meeting or webinar
  • March: Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor. Topic to be determined
  • April: Networking breakfast in Ann Arbor
  • May: Summit in Washington D.C.
  • June: General business meeting, end-of-year awards ceremony, and potluck luncheon at home of president

All Council meetings will be held at the home of the president for Council members and visitors, and will also be available through Adobe Connect for those who cannot attend in person. During the winter months, the meetings will only be held online. They will be held the third Sunday of every month.

Networking breakfasts, lunches, and happy hours will be another way for you to meet other technical communicators for professional networking and job sharing. These events will take place in a variety of places throughout our chapter’s geographic location. If you would like to host one of these events, please contact us and let us know where and when you’d like to do so.

2015 Election Results

by Thomas Glennan, Nominations Chair
The results of the recent STC/SM election of officers for the 2015/2016 program year are summarized below.

  • Total number of ballots sent out on electionbuddy.com: 43
  • Total number of ballots cast: 11
  • % of members who voted: 25%
  • Based on the votes cast, the winning nominees for each office were:

Last day to vote in the election; one week to register for IUE2015 conference

by Dave Mitropoulus-Rundus

The IUE2015 Conference is just a week off now; this annual conference is back in MI for the first time since 2012.

Details and registration are at iueconference.com, and STC-SM members all qualify for the discounted professional organization rate.

Products, software, internet and all customer touch-points need to be clear and simple.

The people who conceive, plan, and build them continually achieve and improve on this when they enrich and advance their skills and abilities in our ever-changing world of technology.

Get exposed to the latest research, hands-on training, peer success stories and interactive sharing.

Attend Internet User Experience 2015
June 15-17, Ann Arbor, Michigan
www.iueconference.com

Election Time

by Thomas Glennan, Immediate Past President and Nominations Chairman

tom glennan headshot

All current members should have received an email with a link to the online ballot (should be from electionbuddy Elections). It has a link to the ballot where you can vote for officers: President=Pat Martz or abstain; Vice President=Sharon McDonnell or abstain; Secretary=Alison Phillips or abstain; Treasurer=Maryann Bowen or abstain. Also you can write in a nominee for the nominations committee and make suggestions for future programs, etc.

Elections are open now through Monday, June 8. If you are a chapter member and have not received the email yet, contact Tom Glennan.

Event Recap: XML and CMS in a Health Insurance Environment

by Angel Belford

On Wednesday, May 20, 2015 about a dozen or so attended the final program of the STC-SM 2014/2015 year at Blue Cross Blue Shield in Southfield.

Sharon McDonnell provided an excellent overview of Extensible Markup Language (XML) within a Content Management System (CMS) and how it related to the documentation process at Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Highlights of the program included:

• Discussion on how over 9,000 linear feet of print documentation were converted into an electronic format!
• Demonstration of Arbortext in managing XML content.
• Benefits of single-sourcing documentation for managing content on multiple websites.

Check back soon to see our chapter’s fall events and in the meantime don’t forget to register for the 62nd annual STC Summit in Columbus, Ohio from June 21-24 at http://summit.stc.org/.

Announcing 2015-2016 Council Nominations

by Tom Glennan, Immediate STC/SM Past President

Along with cleaning out the garage, planting the garden, and (finally) taking down the Christmas decorations, spring is the time of year for STC-SM Council nominations. This is the perfect opportunity to get involved and contribute to your STC community, while also building your professional network, skills, and resume at the same time. And you get to meet and work with a great team of people in the process – what a deal!

The most significant opportunity – and the most critical, immediate need – is for volunteers to run for chapter officer positions (Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer) as well as two elected (but non-officer) Nominations Committee positions. Note that since the Vice President normally transitions into the office of President the following year, which our current Vice President, Sharon McDonnell has confirmed she plans to do, the President for next year is already determined and does not need to be voted on. Continue reading “Announcing 2015-2016 Council Nominations”