ASTC Conference 2020
Due to COVID-19 our 2020 conference was a combination of Zoom presentations and pre-recorded webinars held over three days.
The times and dates are 9:00 am to 1:00 pm on 17, 18 and 19 November.
ASTC Members - free
Affiliated associations - $30
Non-members - $50
Connect with your profession.
Learn from your peers.
Tuesday 17 November
9.00 to 10.15 am
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, will provide tips for delivering one or more points of view clearly and succinctly in blogs, reports, emails, speeches, tweets and other communications channels. He’ll focus 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.
Grant Butler is the founder of the leading business writing firm Editor Group, which writes thought leadership and technical content for leading organisations around the world including the Australian Government, AECOM, HP, INSEAD, Microsoft, PwC and Salesforce. He is also the author of the book Think Write Grow (Wiley), has an e-learning course about corporate writing on the popular Udemy.com platform and was formerly the IT Editor and a senior journalist at The Australian Financial Review newspaper. Learn more at or find Grant on LinkedIn.
Tuesday 17 November
10.30 to 11.25 am
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. This session will show how PerfectIt makes it faster and easier to find inconsistencies and enforce house style.
Daniel Heuman is the CEO of Intelligent Editing and the original developer of PerfectIt. Daniel's idea for PerfectIt came from his experience writing technical reports and proposals for transportation and evaluation consultancies. He developed the software to provide users with a faster and more accurate way of handling mechanical editing tasks.
Today, his software is used by tens of thousands of writers and editors. Users range from freelancers to transnational institutions and Fortune 500 companies, including six of the global top ten pharmaceutical firms.
Tuesday 17 November
LinkedIn Profile Optimisation: Accessing the hidden Job Market
Andrew is a Director of The Cache Group. He 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 engaged by clients like Linfox, Toll and Aurecon.
Recently he has branched out into training on how to approach the job market successfully. He brings a practical and grounded approach built on the advice he has been giving clients and candidates alike.
Wednesday 18 November
Writing to STOP
Dr Tony Self
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 will explain 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 use of thesis statements, standard sized information units and the integration of diagrams, are particularly thought-provoking and challenging.
Tony is the Managing Director, HyperWrite Pty Ltd. With over 30 years of experience as a technical communicator, Tony has seen many documentation magic bullets come and go. For over 20 years, he has specialised in online help systems, computer-based training, and electronic documents.
In 1993, Tony founded HyperWrite, a company providing training and consultancy in structured authoring, Help systems, DITA, and technology strategy.
His presentations at conferences around the world have made him a familiar name. HyperWrite ran its own AODC Conference for thirteen years.
Tony completed his PhD in semantic mark-up languages in 2011, and his book The DITA Style Guide was published in the same year. Tony is a member of the OASIS DITA Technical Committee.
Wednesday 18 November
How to write articles that get attention
The magical tip in writing business articles that people read is story. People learn through story, so make your business articles not just informative but a joy to read. Matt will show us how.
Matt is the Marketing Director of The Cache Group. He is a 25+ year academic who is currently an Adjunct Professor at Ducere International Business School teaching MBA courses in Project Management. He has a Bachelor of Arts, Graduate Diploma in Education, Graduate Diploma in Political Science and an MBA in Marketing.
He was previously the Academic Head and Program Operations Manager at Southern Cross University.
Matt has had a long career as a Chief of Staff, political Advisor and Speech Writer to many State and Federal Members of Parliament including Stewart McArthur MP, Peter Reith MP and Peter Nugent MP. He has been a successful professional writer for 15 years.
Wednesday 18 November
How to avoid misunderstandings in difficult times
Professor David Sless
Thoughts beyond the pandemic and other emergencies.
David was awarded an MSc by Durham University for his research in communication and information design. In 1976 he became the Foundation Chairman of Standards Australiaʼs Committee on Signs and Symbols, and in 1985 was invited by Industry and Government to set up the not-for-profit Communication Research Institute.
He was Foundation Director of the Advanced Studies Program at the International Institute of Information Design, Adjunct Professor in Science Communication at the Australian National University, Adjunct Professor of Information Design at the University of Technology in Sydney and Visiting Professor of Information Design at the Design Institute at Coventry University.
He is a frequently invited speaker at international conferences in North and South America, Europe and Asia, and has authored over 300 publications.
Thursday 19 November
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, I’ll cover:
What macros are and how they can help you (with examples)
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
NOTE: This session focuses on Word for Windows. Mac users should be able to do similar things, but there are no guarantees. Skill level: intermediate to advanced users of Word.
Rhonda started her freelance business in Western Australia in 1999, providing technical writing and editing services to companies of all sizes—from small start-ups to global multinationals. Since 2008, she’s been the technical editor for a health, environment, and safety team on a $60b project for a global oil and gas company, editing 3000+ complex Word documents for that team. Rhonda has spoken at many conferences in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, and presented webinars for professional associations in New Zealand and Canada. She has written thousands of articles (nearly 500 just on Word) for her blog (https://cybertext.wordpress.com), which has been viewed by almost 16 million visitors (as at Nov 2020).
Thursday 19 November
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.
The new version of the Australian Government Style Manual helps writers and editors make the leap from print to digital publishing.
As the Chief Executive Officer of Ethos CRS, Chas has designed, developed and delivered writing workshops for private and public sector agencies. He specialises in corporate communications, policy and regulation, and leadership and management. Chas has developed and delivered training programs for public service organisations and professionals, and coached senior executives, ministers and an Australian of the year.
CSS Colors Demystified
How the CSS hex color 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? This fun and informative session explores the science behind optical colours, covers the hexadecimal numbering system used to describe them, and explains – finally! – how to use those funny-looking codes to get exactly the colours you need. Want to be smarter than most of your peers? Don't miss this session!
Dave is a Southern California-based technical publications specialist who provides technology consulting and training for hypertext developers.
A veteran software professional with over thirty years of development, documentation and training experience, Dave holds degrees in Business and Computer Science. He is well known in the technical publications community as an interesting and engaging technical instructor.
Dave is a frequent speaker at Technical Communication conferences in Australia and around the world; find him at