On October 23rd, the Eagle Technical Communicators kicked off this semester's first Networking with the Pros meeting with guest speaker Chris Tull, a documentation and training manager at Electronic Transaction Consultants.
Tull is an experienced technical writer with over 20 years of experience in the field. At Electronic Transaction Consultants, he coordinates a team of technical writers that complete assignments like documentation creation, webpage design, and graphic design.
During the hour-long meeting, Tull spoke about effective technical-writing strategies and the skills that make a good technical writer.
"It takes patience," Tull said. "Have your tools good to go and know your audience."
He explained that these tools tend to be Microsoft Office programs or programming software. He also mentioned that many corporate technical communication departments are small and that writers need to know how to communicate through data using HTML code or Excel.
Tull also spoke about some of his job tasks over the years including the process of writing help documentation for both physical manuals and online help as well as designing proposal packages to procure new clients.
"The work is really varied," he said. "It's like fitting puzzle pieces together."
Tull assured attendees that perspective tech writers don't need to know all of these skills to get a job as a technical communicator.
"This is a very flexible career and industry. If you enjoy writing or communicating in whatever media, you can find work," he said. "We're a small niche with a large demand."
He also showed the attendees Coach John Wooden's pyramid of success. Wooden's philosophy states that success is a gradual, layered process that builds on itself. Tull recommends using the pyramid as a guideline for success in management, recalling times where he has seen talented people fail because they didn't practice the "fundamentals of success."
Interested in attending the next Networking with the Pros meeting? Check out the Eagle Technical Communicators' on Facebook to keep up with upcoming events!