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ASTC Conference 2020


Held on 17, 18, 19 November 2020

Due to COVID-19 our 2020 conference was a combination of Zoom presentations and pre-recorded webinars held over three days. 

Connect with your profession.
Learn from your peers.

Topics covered

What’s your big idea?

Do you ever read business and technical material and wonder what the writer is saying? Or walk away less than convinced by their argument? In this session, Grant Butler, founder of the Editor Group, provided tips for delivering one or more points of view clearly and succinctly in blogs, reports, emails, speeches, tweets and other communications channels. He focussed on processes for coming up with quality ideas, writing techniques for delivering them and issues that organisations should often consider – such as whose name or names will go on the piece of writing and what risks people are prepared to take to win attention.

Checking consistency and enforcing house style: Using PerfectIt for faster and better results

You didn’t become a technical writer because you enjoy checking for consistency of hyphenation and capitalization. Equally, spending hours checking that every detail conforms to a style manual is time-consuming and it can distract you from the important work of ensuring a document conveys its message in a clear, concise and comprehensible way. Thankfully, there is a better way! Technical writers around the world use PerfectIt to fix these small details so they can focus on the work that matters. PerfectIt is an add-in for Word that speeds up final checking while still leaving writers in control of every decision. In this session, Daniel Heuman, CEO of Intelligent Editing and the original developer of PerfectIt, shows how PerfectIt makes it faster and easier to find inconsistencies and enforce house style.

LinkedIn profile optimisation: Accessing the hidden job market

In this presentation, Andrew Hunnard, Director of The Cache Group, provided insights into optimising your LinkedIn. Andrew has had a 30+ year career in IT covering everything from Managing BHP’s Global network, Workforce Design and Data science. For the past 8 years Andrew has been running a successful recruitment and IT consultancy business and brings a practical and grounded approach built on the advice he has been giving clients and candidates alike.

Writing to STOP

A writing methodology known as STOP - Sequential Thematic Organisation of Publications - was developed at Hughes Fullerton in the 1960s. The purpose was to improve the speed of document production, and to allow multiple authors to work simultaneously on the same document. The STOP approach still resonates today, as we still have the same needs to reduce document creation times and to work collaboratively. Tony Self, Managing Director of HyperWrite Pty Ltd, explained how the STOP approach worked and how it might be re-applied even more effectively in the 21st century. Some of the ideas, such as the use of thesis statements, standard-sized information units and the integration of diagrams, are particularly thought-provoking and challenging.    


How to write articles that get attention

The magical tip in writing business articles is that people read stories. People learn through story, so make your business articles, not just informative but a joy to read. Matt Cordner, Marketing Director of The Cache Group, demonstrated how to do this.

How to avoid misunderstandings in difficult times

A presentation by Professor David Sless on thoughts beyond the pandemic and other emergencies. David focussed on efficient document development and revision processes and effective communication to avoid delays and errors.

One command to rule them all: Introduction to Word macros 

You’ve likely heard other Word users rave about how their macros have saved them hours of time. But what’s a macro? How do you create one? Can anyone do it? Learn the basics of Word macros to get you started on the path to creating your own macros. In this session, Rhonda Bracey covered:

  1. What macros are and how they can help you (with examples)

  2. How to:

  • record a basic macro

  • assign a keyboard shortcut or button to a macro

  • run a macro

  • copy a macro, and where to safely store your macros

  • edit a macro, including how to test a macro and add comments to it.

The essentials of Australian Government style

The Australian Government Style Manual defines government style and provides comprehensive advice on whole-of-government standards and publishing requirements. This helps achieve clarity, consistency and excellence in government publications, both online and in print. It’s the essential resource for professionals who want to write clearly and it caters for a generation that reads and writes almost exclusively online. Chas Savage, Chief Executive Officer of Ethos CRS, summarised the main features of the new version of the Australian Government Style Manual and how it helps writers and editors make the leap from print to digital publishing. 

CSS Colors Demystified: How the CSS hex colour scheme really works

Virtually every technical writer and online author encounters CSS hex colours like #FFFFD0, #008080, or #4DB84A at some point. But how many of us really understand them? In this fun and informative session, David Gash explored the science behind optical colours, covered the hexadecimal numbering system used to describe them, and explained – finally! – how to use those funny-looking codes to get exactly the colours you need. 

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