STC Reach for a Star

At STC, we know that our members are the shining stars of the technical communication profession. STC members are dedicated to reaching their highest potential while looking to STC to enhance their careers.

Why not share the same valuable opportunities with your colleagues?

STC Reach for the Stars Member-Get-a-Member Campaign is really about you. We know that you realize the value of your membership in STC and you will encourage others to join. We want to reward you for doing that.

The Campaign runs from 8 October 2008 through 31 December 2008. Please click on one of the “stars” to the left to find important information on how chapters, SIGs, and individuals members can recruit and become eligible to win fabulous prizes. Awards will be announced in January 2009.

Recruiting a Member Is Easy!

Did you know that a large percentage of new members join STC simply because someone asked them? Reaching out and recruiting a member is easy when you find yourself interacting with colleagues at meetings, online, on the job, or while networking. Simply tell your colleagues how you have benefited from your membership in STC and suggest that they visit to learn more about membership and to join.

If a friend or colleague joins STC on your recommendation, they need to put your name and the name of the chapter or SIG on the online application form in order for you and your chapter or SIG to receive credit. STC will keep track of your recruitment activity for you. It’s that simple.

Prefer to Refer?

Sometimes it may be more convenient or appropriate for you to provide us with contact information for an individual who is a candidate for membership, and we take the next step. Send the potential new member’s complete contact information to Stacey O’Donnell. STC will send membership information and an application. However, you will not be considered the “recruiter” unless the new member provides your name on the application as the person who introduced him/her to STC.

Whether you recruit or refer, you will be contributing to the growth of STC. So Reach for the Stars and recruit, recruit, recruit.

Webinars offer affordable training without traveling

Bring your lunch and get tips on selecting and implementing software in your department, including evaluation techniques that take more than just the softwares cost into account. John concludes his presentation by discussing how to assess the softwares effectiveness after it has been selected and put to use.

Program Title: Choosing a Software Package

Date and Time: Wednesday, April 15, 12:00 1:30 PM CST

Presenter: John Hedtke

Cost: Free to MTC members, $10 for non-members.

Location: Tanner Corporate Services, Main Conference Room. You may bring your lunch to eat during the presentation. Drinks will be provided.

Directions to Tanner Corporate Services:
Tanner Corporate Services, Inc. is located at 58 Lindsley Avenue Nashville, TN 37210. For directions from your location, use the following link: To read more about Tanner Corporate Services, visit

Presentation Description:
Choosing software for your department or company is not just a matter of checking the prices. The real cost of a product includes the price of the software and the cost of implementing it as well. This presentation by international, award-winning author John Hedtke will show you how to identify the features you need, the features you want, and the features you dont care about. The presentation will also discuss ways to determine other important selection criteria, such as the hardware and operating system requirements, the products interoperability with other departments, new and intermediate user training requirements, and the need for continuing product support. Youll see how to create a list of selection criteria that accurately reflects your needs and priorities, evaluate the products that may fulfill your criteria, and make a selection. The presentation will conclude with tips on evaluating the products appropriateness after youve been using it for a month or two.

(The slides for the entire presentation, along with a variety of other resources, will be available for download through the presenters website.)

Presenter Bio:
John Hedtke is the award-winning author of 25 books. He has 30 years in the software business, over 25 years writing, and 7 years in technical publications management. John has developed and written documentation and books for many leading software products, and has received 26 writing awards to date. A complete list of books, articles, projects, and awards can be found online at his website, John owns a small company that offers writing and business consulting services for a variety of private, public, and governmental clients. John also does numerous radio and magazine interviews and frequently travels to do lectures and guest appearances at conferences and seminars. John was the last Region 7 Director on the Society for Technical Communications Board of Directors and is also a Fellow of the Society.

Most Useful Information for Technical Communicators

Educational Programs

  • The Writer’s Loft – an MTSU Creative Writing Program – This non-credit course brings writers together with mentors for an 18-month, low-residency program. A Creative Writing Certificate is the result, but getting writers published is the goal.
  • If you know of other educational programs in the Middle Tennessee area that are related to our profession, please send email to

Professional Associations

  • The American Medical Writers Association
  • The American Society for Information Science and Technology
  • The Association for Computing Machinery, documentation SIG
  • The International Association of Business Communicators (Local chapter)
  • Public Relations Society of America (Local chapter)
  • Usability Professionals Association

Writers’ Online Reference Tools

  • Dictionary.Com Quick dictionary/thesaurus searches, portal to other reference works sites.
  • Bartletts Familiar Quotations 9th edition Searchable, with an index by authors.
  • Elements of Style If you could have just one reference for writing, this might be it.
  • InterGO Free Library Full text of many literary classics, links to the free online versions of some popular reference works.
  • WorkWrite Excellent compilation of resources for help authors including a bibliography and lists of recommended books for web design, online help, visual design, tools, and utilities.
  • Technical Writing Bookstore

Style Guides

  • Sun Microsystems’ Guide to Web Style A cookbook for help people to create better Web pages.
  • IEE Style Guide The Institute of Electrical Engineering wades in on the topic of what makes good documentation style.
  • CMOS Online FAQ Frequently asked questions of the biggest of all style books: The Chicago Manual of Style.
  • Elements of Style If you could have just one reference for writing, this might be it.
  • iNetLingo An online dictionary and compendium of internet and technology terms.
  • Yale C/AIM Web Style Guide A comprehensive style manual grounded in the principles of multimedia, graphic interface, and book design from the Yale Center for Advanced Instructional Media.


  • William Horton Consulting, Inc. Home page of a well-known expert on online documentation, this site includes hints and tips.
  • World Wide WInnovations The Web presence of local chapter member M.J. Plaster, a Nashville-based trainer and consultant whose expertise includes Doc-to-Help, ForeHelp, JavaHelp, RoboHELP, and Microsoft HTML Help.

Online Communities

  • Technical Writing Special interest area on The Mining Companys web: Product reviews, tutorials, articles, war stories, case studies, and links.
  • HTML Writers Guild Claiming over 50,000 members in more than 100 nations, the Guild is the largestinternational organization of World Wide Web designers.
  • Techwr-L Mailing List Searchable archive of the Techwr-L mailing list. To subscribe to the Techwr-L mailing list, fill out the form at
  • WinHlp-L Mailing List Searchable archive of the WinHlp-L mailing list, To subscribe to the WinHlp-L mailing list, send a message to:
  • Writing That Works A Web-based offering with information for free, information for fee. Great source for occasional inspiration and insite. Home of the Apex awards, print and online newsletters

Midday Meet-and-Greet

STCs mission is to advance the theories and application of technical communication. And, one of the greatest benefits of Society membership is that it provides opportunities for ongoing learning and professional networking. While members can experience these benefits at a national level (e.g., the annual conference or via online forums), some of the most significant opportunities for enrichment occur at the local chapter level. The Middle Tennessee Chapter (MTC) is proud to offer its members a variety of professional development and networking events, as well as opportunities for mentorship. Mentoring is simply sharing information and insight with veteran and novice technical communicators alike. Mentoring is an active way that MTC members can advance the technical communication discipline across the spectrum of user types/abilities, industries, and medias. MTC members have the privilege of meeting 20+ future technical communicators at the March meeting. These students, who are visiting from Cedarville University, are eager to visit companies and talk with people who actually practice technical communication in the workplace. Please join us for lunch and be willing to share your thoughts and insights into the technical communication field with this great group of students.

Date and Time: Friday, March 20, 2009, 12:00 1:00 PM CST

Cost: Free for MTC members, $10 for non-members.

Location: Tanner Corporate Services

Directions to Tanner Corporate Services:
Tanner Corporate Services, Inc. is located at 58 Lindsley Avenue Nashville, TN 37210. For directions from your location, use the following link: To read more about Tanner Corporate Services, visit

To ensure that we have a lunch for you at this event, you MUST RSVP by 9 AM March 19, 2009.

Middle Tennessee Chapter Chapter 2008-2009 Competition Call for Entries

2008-2009 Competition Schedule

October 3 All Technical Publication and Online entries due

January 2009 Annual Awards Banquet and Award Presentations

Have you or your company produced technical communication products that you think are worthy of awards? Would you like your work to be recognized by your peers? This call for entries is your invitation to participate in the following Society for Technical Communication (STC) competitions:

Online Communication Competition
Technical Publications Competition

Who is eligible?
Anyone is eligible to submit entries. You do not have to be a member of STC. You may enter work as an individual or on behalf of a colleague or subordinate.

What can be entered?
Entries in all categories must contain sufficient technical, scientific, medical, or similar content to qualify as technical communication. Entries must have been produced or substantially revised within 24 months preceding September 1 of the current year. Entries must have been originally prepared for and accepted for publication by a client, employer, or publisher.
General Rules and Categories

How are the competitions structured?
STC’s competitions recognize and encourage excellence in online communication, technical art, and technical publications. STC offers two levels of competition:

Local and regional competitions
The international competitions

Local and regional competitions are the first level of competition. A local competition is one held by a single chapter. A regional competition is one held by two or more chapters, usually in the same STC region.

The international competitionsthe international online communication competition (IOCC), the international technical art competition (ITAC), and the international technical publications competition (ITPC)are the second and final level of competition. Winners of the Distinguished Technical Communication award in each category of each local and regional competition are automatically submitted to the appropriate international competition. After you enter the local competition, no further action is required.

What awards are given?
At the local and regional level, three levels of recognition are awarded in each competition category. These awards, in descending order, are:

Distinguished Technical Communication (DTC)

One Best of Show award is presented for each competition. Winners of the DTC and Best of Show award in each category qualify for automatic submission to STC’s international competitions.

At the international level, the awards structure is the same as at the local and regional level.

Past awards

  • 2007-08 Awards
  • 2006 Awards
  • 2005 Awards

Deadlines, Fees, and Where to Submit
The deadlines for the Middle Tennessee chapter competitions are as follows:

Online Communication: October 3, 2008

Technical Publications: October 3, 2008

Fees for each entry are

$20 for students
$45 for STC members
$60 for non-STC members
$10 for each additional entrant
If a product is entered into more than one competition, the fee must be paid for each entry.

Entry Form
Submit 3 originals for each entry

Entries should be mailed to:

Betsy Smith
2328 Londonderry Drive
Murfreesboro TN 37129

(Updated July 27, 2008)