Advancing the technical communication profession in Upstate New York

Best Practices in Tech Comm

For tech writers, like me, who work as the sole writer for a team or company, daily work can sometimes feel like living on an island. Yes, there might be a small rowboat—an email here, a phone conversation there—sporadically drifting us to and from the larger world of tech comm, but in the end we often fall back on our own sense of what tech comm best practices include—or, in my case at my very first tech writing position, a frantic key-smacking Google search.

Bobbi Werner and the STC CNY Chapter have been instrumental in creating a bridge to connect me, and other professionals like me, to the larger world of tech comm. The most recent STC CNY event, “Best Practices in Tech Comm,” gathered together a group of technical communication professionals from a variety of backgrounds and encouraged us to brainstorm, discuss, and analyze the field practices that we consider to be best.

The interactive nature of the event allowed for networking and for the representation of a broad variety of perspectives. We heard ideas from technical communicators who have been in their fields for many years, as well as new professionals, just starting out in the field. Led by Bobbi’s excellent instruction, we generated ideas about practices that are certainly best when feasible, like using graphics with simple lines to avoid reader confusion, and practices that perhaps could use innovation, such as manually archiving finished documentation.

One of the best parts of this event, and in my opinion one of the best qualities of the CNY chapter, is how open and kind the members and event attendees are. Everyone’s ideas were welcome at this event—new and seasoned professionals alike—and the group was eager to share and support others’ perspectives. Discussion built naturally and openly, and a warm, supportive environment filled the enclave of the restaurant where we met.

Now, back on my island, the newly-built bridge is a bit stronger. Plus, now I have practical ideas of how to improve tech comm practices to share with my team and to apply to my writing. I certainly plan to attend the next STC CNY event, and I hope to see you there!

-Naomi Coufal
Technical Writer