Mar 082016
 
This entry is part 12 of 17 in the series 2015-16 Program Chronicles

On March 2 the New England Chapter returned to the virtual, multi-community program format for an evening of fast-moving presentations on persuasion, certification, and audio editing.

The Multi-Community Techcomm Showcase, Round 2 brought together presenters from the Twin Cities, Pittsburgh, and Instructional Design and Learning communities. Hosted by the Rochester Chapter, the program was available through Adobe Connect. Viewing parties collected at each chapter, including two from New England (Bedford, Massachusetts, at Oracle, and Manchester, New Hampshire, at Autodesk). The program consisted of three half-hour presentations.

Be Persuasive, Not Frustrated

Viewing party at Autodesk in Manchester, NHPatty Gale

STC NE members gathered at viewing parties, including at Autodesk in Manchester, NH

In “The Science and Psychology of Persuasion,” Barbara Beresford, a past president of STC Twin Cities, shared what she’s learned about using the important soft skill of persuasion to avoid frustration, which “saved my professional life, or at least kept me from going crazy.”

In a meaty presentation rich with sources, Beresford described the laws of persuasion, the process of persuasion, persuasion and influence (quoting Dale Carnegie), and how to achieve win/win situations. One key is knowing that we are all “of two minds.” Persuasion is conducted not just using logic but also—and mostly—unconscious channels such as body language and emotions. In fact, she said, the ability to control your emotions is a better predictor of success than high IQ.

STC Certification Reopens for Business

CPTC Foundation logo

The CPTC Foundation credential is aimed at beginning practitioners

In “STC Certification: Why, and Where Are We Now?” Alan Houser, CPTC, a past president of the Society, described the Society’s revamped certification program. The original program, launched in 2011, was aimed at experienced technical communicators, and required a package of materials evaluated by assessors. Houser was “in awe of the work done” to establish the credential, but the process did not scale well and was suspended. (The original credential is still accepted and retained as the Certified Professional Technical Communicator-Expert certification.) The revamped program offers the CPTC Foundation credential, aimed at beginners in the field, and requires passing a multiple-choice examination managed by APMG International, an examination company that supports certification of knowledge-based workers worldwide. The examination is based on Technical Communication Today, Fifth Edition, by Richard Johnson-Sheehan.

The cost to sit for the exam is $250 for STC members ($495 for non-members). STC offers preparation and train-the-trainer classes. For more information, see the January 2016 Intercom or go to STC.org.

Improving Your Audio

Logo of AudacityVaughan Johnson (initial upload to SVN)

Hershenow described how he uses Audacity to improve his audio recordings

In “Audio Editing Tips: 3 Easy Steps to Improved Voice Recording,” Robert Hershenow, co-manager of the IDL SIG and editor of Ideal, the SIG newsletter, demonstrated how editing audio of a presentation, video, or podcast improves quality by reducing noise, improving timing, and simplifying the recording process.

A savvy and knowledgable user, Hershenow demonstrated the free Audacity utility by trimming a sample file, adding crossfade, reducing transient noise spikes, reducing background noise, inserting silence to change the timing, and optimizing the volume. His pro tip was to work in stages, saving each step along the way. He highly recommended using the tool’s Help file to explain otherwise obscure functions. Hershenow also recommended Levelator, which can perform a number of audio-cleanup tasks at once, like a photo touchup wizard.

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