You know you can make things better in your work: streamline processes, implement better tools, or improve the quality of the information you provide to users. But how can you get from idea to action? How can you convince management and other stakeholders that your idea is not only feasible but worthwhile? How do you get to yes?
This challenge is the topic that Greg Bartlett will explore during the monthly meeting of the New England chapter of the STC on October 21. For most of his 30 years in the field, Greg has been involved in managing Technical Communication groups at startup companies and larger organizations. During that time, he has learned how to navigate the murky waters of getting buy-in for TechComm initiatives.
“If you’ve never tried to to propose an initiative, start with a smaller project,” Bartlett suggested. “It helps you learn how to go about making a sale, and it gets you some credibility, too. So start small.”
When you’re ready to move ahead with your idea and try to gain support for it, identify stakeholders at all levels. Then start with those closest to you. “The real key,” said Bartlett, “is to get your boss on your side. If he or she doesn’t buy it, it’s not going to happen.”
Before approaching stakeholders about your initiative, learn about their goals. Understand what’s important to them, and adjust your pitch accordingly. “As it turns out, my background in Special Education has been helpful in the process of gaining stakeholder support for projects,” said Barlett. “In Special Ed, you must identify the needs that individuals have, and figure out the best way to address those needs. This skill of being tuned into basic human needs is a part of the workplace just as it is a part of the education process in school.”
These are just some of the strategies that Bartlett will share at the October 21 meeting. In his presentation, Bartlett will describe some general themes and walk through a few case studies. Attendees will be invited to brainstorm as part of one of the case studies and to share lessons learned from initiating change.
“Nowadays, very few of us report to managers who have tech writing experience,” said Nancy Allison, president of the New England chapter of the STC. “Instead, we may need to explain tools and processes in greater detail, and work a lot harder, to get management support for our needs. Personally, I’m always interested in learning new ways to make a convincing case.”
The program is Wednesday, October 21, 2015, starting at 6 pm, at the Hilton Garden Inn, 5 Wheeler Road, Burlington, Massachusetts.
The following ticket prices (USD) include networking, dinner, and then the presentation:
- STC New England Chapter members: $25
- Non-members: $35
- Not currently employed professionals: $20
- STC student members: $15
The deadline to register for the networking, dinner, and live presentation is 6 p.m. on Monday, October 19.
If you cannot attend in person, you can register to attend the presentation only (approximately 7–8:30 pm) remotely. The webinar price is $15.
About our speaker
Greg Bartlett brings 30 years of experience to this discussion: he has been a writer and a documentation manager in two start-ups and in two established companies. Greg spoke at the September 2013 STC New England meeting about building partnerships with engineering and the rest of the organization.
About the New England Chapter of STC
The New England chapter is one of the largest chapters in the Society for Technical Communication (STC). The New England chapter serves technical communications professionals in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
The chapter sponsors monthly programs, informal social events, and an annual regional professional conference.
STC New England was formed in 2011 when the Boston Chapter and the Northern New England Chapter merged to form the New England chapter. The Boston Chapter, incorporated in 1953, and the Association of Technical Writers and Editors in New York City were founding chapters of the STC.